The moment that many vegetarians have been waiting for is here: VegHeads Drive-Thru has opened. The new vegetarian fast-food joint, located at 705 Merrimon Ave. in north Asheville, specializes in quick, meat-free fare that’s recognizable and wholesome.
Menu items include an avocado hummus wrap for $5.99 and a vegan quinoa-veggie wrap for $5.99. There’s also a classic pasta salad for $6.29 and a tabbouleh salad for the same price. Sides include house-made kimchi for $3.29 and a cup of jasmine or brown rice for $2.49. There’s a kids’ menu, too, with ants on a log, tempeh nuggets and grilled cheese and fries — all for under $5.
Xpress sampled three items: The Mountain Burger with shiitake “bacon” ($6.99 plus 35 cents for the mushrooms), the cucumber seaweed salad ($4.50) and the Korean BBQ tempeh wrap ($6.99). The total, with tax, came to $19.91 without tip.
The seaweed and cucumber salad is substantial, with a tangy sweet dressing and red peppers. Do not make the mistake of carrying the box sideways like I did, spilling the dressing all over your skirt (or trousers, as the case may be). This is not car food, folks. It’s messy but tasty. Also, don’t expect the standard seaweed salad that you would get in a Japanese restaurant; the seaweed is a natural color and chopped into rough ribbons. My only gripe was that it had a bit too much dressing.
The veggie burger is not the usual chewy frozen puck — it contains lentils and grains and is made into a loose patty that holds together fairly well. It’s topped with fresh red onion, tomato and lettuce on a wheat bun. Don’t skip the shiitake “bacon.”
The tempeh wrap is the best of the bunch, with what seems like locally made tempeh. The sauce is tangy (and currently on my keyboard). The slaw that comes with it is fresh and crisp and the pita is toasted.
Check it out, but keep in mind that the place is still getting going — be patient. Asheville’s first vegetarian drive-through is a unique addition to our food scene. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.