Vegan freak: Spiral Diner & Bakery review

The Marquee ventured to Ft. Worth to test out the Spiral Diner & Bakery, a completely vegan eatery. To get the full idea, we document the experience from a vegan and a non-vegan perspective.






The vegan experience: Alyssa Schmidt

One of the biggest aspects that I have missed out on while being a vegan is going to restaurants. Most places usually have one or two vegetarian options, but then smother said meal in cheese. There’s sometimes a salad or two. But even then I have to tell them to lay off the egg, cheese or whatever meat is on there and select one vegan dressing.

So for months now I have been living off Chipotle and crying into my burrito bowl. While I love eating there, it gets old after awhile. So when someone told me about Spiral Diner & Bakery, I was ecstatic. For once I would get a break from my mom’s home cooked meals and burrito bowls.

Spiral Diner & Bakery has two locations. One is in Ft. Worth and the other is in Dallas. We decided on the Ft. Worth location. When Alex and I first walked in, we were greeted by the kitchen staff, who are visible for everyone to see. We were then put on the list and told it would be about a 15 minute wait. It was a Saturday afternoon and the dining room was quite crowded. It was very quickly pointed out that there was an obscene amount of hipsters. However, I was fine with that fact. I felt at home.

Shortly after, we were escorted to our booth, where I was sat right next to Oprah. Okay, not the real Oprah, but a very large portrait of her. It was comforting to know that my mom’s hero would be watching me as I munched.

When it was time to order, I have to admit that I was quite overwhelmed. As a vegan who is a little wary of “fake meat” products (like seitan and tofurkey) I didn’t know what would actually taste good. Just to get a clearer idea of what was on the menu, I asked our server for some help. She enthusiastically suggested many things, but I eventually decided on the Big Kahuna burger with the classic soy patty. This burger comes with grilled pineapple, homemade bacon, ranch, barbecue sauce and jalapeños stuffed underneath the warm bun. Plus I ordered avocado as an add-on (once again, 100% vegan).

While a little on the saucy side, I really enjoyed it. I know if I had just tried a soy patty with some ketchup and mustard I wouldn’t have liked it. Nonetheless, all of the ingredients tied it together really well. I ordered a side of pasta salad and capitalized on their soon-ending special of mac and cheese. It had been so long since I had anything resembling mac and cheese that I thought I was going to cry actual tears. My only complaint would be that the pasta noodles did not look like something I would traditionally associate with mac and cheese. They were almost like lasagna noodles that were cut up.

Then there was the most delicious vegan item I’ve ever had, the Nachos Supremo. Corn tortilla chips covered in cheese, quinoa, black beans, corn, guacamole and just a few jalapeños. The cheese, while obviously not the real thing, was definitely close enough. The server also mentioned that this was their most popular item on the menu.

By the end of the meal, I was definitely ready to just set up a room in the back and live there. It would be worth it to stay and snack on all of the vegan deliciousness.

The non-vegan experience: Alex Helm

As someone who grew up with a health freak as a mother, I wasn’t too opposed to trying out a completely vegan restaurant. I’ve eaten unusual food before, like venison and quinoa. I always eat fruits and vegetables. My mom has even gotten me to eat weird fruits with names I can’t pronounce. But being vegan is more than that. No eggs, no butter, no milk. All foods that I love. So I was a bit apprehensive as Alyssa Schmidt, my vegan comrade, and I pulled into the Spiral Diner & Bakery.

But as soon as I stepped inside, my worries faded. Immediately we were met with a bronze statue of a robotic-like man wearing Groucho glasses, holding a sign that said to “wait here.” There was a display across from us filled with all kinds of vegan necessities. Everything from organic pet food to vegan popcorn to animal-friendly lip balm was stocked on the shelves. The walls were baby blue, and the people there were so unique one could feel the “hipster” in the air.

There was a bit of a wait to get seated, but the host was friendly and accommodating, letting us look at a menu beforehand. Once we sat down, I looked around at the room. Strange modern art was plastered on the walls and plants and books were stacked on shelves.

I got up to get my drink at the fountain. All the choices were vegan sodas or tea. Although I wanted to try vegan soda, I couldn’t bring myself to break my record of abstaining from soda for almost four years, so I chose the Strawberry Hibiscus Tea instead. The flavor was a bit bland with a tangy aftertaste. But the appetizer – chips and hummus – proved to taste great. The hummus had the perfect amount of olive oil and the chips were salted just right, something I consider extremely important in any restaurant that offers chips.

Next was picking what to order. There were so many options, and I felt a bit overwhelmed. I finally decided on the Sketti & Meatballs, which included meatballs with a homemade marinara sauce topped with cashew parmesan and pesto with a side of grilled italian toast. The meatballs, which of course weren’t actually real meat and were made out of soy, were surprisingly the best part of the meal. I was afraid they’d just taste like soy beans smashed together in a ball. But I couldn’t tell the difference between their meatballs and meatballs made from real meat. The mix of marinara sauce and pesto blended perfectly, and the taste was everything one could ask for in a plate of spaghetti, yet it was all vegan.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the diner’s ability to make a normally vegan-unfriendly meal taste so amazing using vegan products. I almost ate the entirety of the plate, and loved it so much that I took home what was left. For vegans and non-vegans alike, this diner not only serves all people with delicious meal options, but is a unique and interesting eatery for any adventurous foodie.