Could it be… a vegetarian diner?!


I recently subscribed to the excellent Satya Magazine, a New York-based publication that focuses on “vegetarianism, envrionmentalism, animal advocacy, and social justice.” I won’t go into too much detail about the magazine now (I’ll save that for another entry), but I found a mention of a restaurant in New York City that sounds like absolute heaven: the Veg-City Diner.

This may be the first all-vegetarian diner (and very vegan friendly) diner ever. And it’s not just a typical vegetarian resturant wrapped in a Silver Diner shell, but an actual New York City diner that was taken over and still serves “diner food.” I wondered not long ago why no one had created a good faux Philly Cheesesteak yet… well, they have and you can get it at the diner. Check out their menu: “Suna Melt” (a faux tuna melt, obviously), meat loaf, Phony Island Corn Dog, Virginia Baked Sham, vegan pancakes, milkshakes (with soy milkshakes as an option)… sounds incredible! While many of the foods aren’t vegan-safe, the menu is well-marked and apparently the waitstaff is knowledgable about the food they serve.

You can see a May 2001 review of the diner by Satya Magazine. Given my obsession with diners, there’s no doubt this will be my first stop during my next trip to NYC.

16 Responses to “Could it be… a vegetarian diner?!”

  1. johanna

    oh yeah, veg city rules! it’s open 24 hours, too, which is excellent. & their desserts are FABULOUS. a whole case full of vegan stuff. when you get to nyc, try their chocolate peanut butter bomb if you can (the desserts come in every tuesday afternoon, & that must be really popular because most of the time when i’m there later in the week, they’re already out of it!).

  2. Jen

    Oh yes, Veg City is paradise. I recommend the Philly Cheesefake. My boyfriend is a fan of teh Suna Melt (which is good if you like the flavor of relish) and the sloppy joe.

  3. Jeani

    The Veg-City Diner sounds like a great place, but I think perhaps the Chicago Diner ( has been around longer. They also have a fake Philly Cheesesteak, although I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t give a full review.

  4. Ryan

    Jeani — You know, now that you mention it, I remember either you or Paul telling me about it. I must have forgotten!

    I’ll make it a point to visit the Chicago Diner next time we’re in Chicago! :)

  5. john

    I live in NYC and have been to the Veg-City Diner twice. The first time, I wasn’t impressed with the service or menu. So, I went back a second time to give it another chance. The second time confirmed my first impression…

    There are soooooo many *great* veggie eateries in NYC that I don’t need to give Veg-City yet another try.

    By the way, their second location didn’t last long.

    I also lived in Chicago and LOVED the Chicago Diner! It’s still one of my favorite restaurants, and I always make it a point to go there whenever I’m back in the Windy City for a visit. :-)

  6. Catherine

    Hi Veg Blog! I’m the editor of Satya magazine, so thank you for mentioning us. I just wanted to point out that we also reviewed Veg-City’s outrageous cakes in an issue we did in February: “Sweet Stuff: Decadent Vegan Desserts” ( Check out “Vegans Just Wanna Have Fun” ( ), and “Sweet Survey of NYC” ( (In addition to Veg-City, there are all kinds of sweet things one can order online or over the phone, which is something we learned while putting that issue together.)

    But when it comes to vegetarian diners, I must say that the Saturn Caf in Santa Cruz wins in my book–hands down. I discovered it this summer. It’s got a great staff and a whole menu with different kinds of veggie burgers–some are vegan–I’m talking diner burgers with all the fixins. They’re also very community-oriented and have all kinds of events going on (

    We’ve been building our restaurants listing, so I encourage people to send us your comments and reviews on veggie restaurants across the country and around the world. (see or email [email protected]).

    (BTW: Your site was recommended to me just today by VegOut, an NYC listservice. )

  7. nicole

    i went there a month or so ago…loved it. :):):):):)

  8. Richard

    I vistied this Diner last week on a trip over from the UK. It must have got a lot worse in the last few months. The service was appauling, the food bland and unimaginative and when my entree finally arrived it was cold. I must admit that the deserts looked good but given that the person on the table next to me waited 30 minutes for a cup cake I didn’t have the patience to wait for them.

  9. divine

    Well, I agree that there are lots of other *great* veggie eateries in NYC to choose from, but not @ 5 AM.
    I’m a dj and I work until 4 AM every nite, and I have to tell you that it is a wonderful thing to be able to get a decent vegan meal 24 hrs a day…
    I think the food there is ok, the service is often lousy, but only when it’s crowded.
    The desserts there are wonderful, so good that I often worry if there not really vegan at all…

    On a side note I admit that I’ve been to the Chicago diner and the food is amazing, but it also wasn’t 24hrs…

    My favorite is Real Food Daily in Los Angeles, but try 2 get some decent food in LA @ 3 AM…
    Good Luck

  10. teresa

    I have to second or third the complaints about Veg City. I like the food–especially the vegan cakes–but the service is appalling. I think all the servers are stoned, and they either forget about you (and are unapologetic about it) or are downright rude, acting as if you’re being a nuisance by ordering food! I’d suggest making a beeline for either Sanctuary or Angelica’s Kitchen, both in the East Village, for good NYC veggie food. Cheers!

  11. jojo

    i agree with you. there are so many “great” veg restaurants in nyc but most of them are really dirty and gross. like veg paradise, for example, or caravan of dreams. yuck. you may as well make your own bloody salad.
    kates joint is really good, and angelica’s kitchen, aslo in the east village is incredible.
    peace, love and veg

  12. Sheri Lazar

    In NYC, I absolutely LOVED Red Bamboo, at 140 W. 4th Street – foods are creative & fabulous, desserts are amazing – vegan & veg stuff – really heavenly!!!!

    Also, if anyone’s in the DETROIT area, try Inn Season Cafe – they have incredible food & amazing vegan desserts – all organic, no microwaves, everything fresh, etc. – it’s in Royal Oak (suburb) and voted “best veg in Metro Detroit” like 12 years running or something… *and* they have a yummy Sunday brunch… (need flash player to view site)

    Sheri/Roch. Hills, MI

  13. Sandy

    Hello. I was walking by Veg City a week ago to see if it was finally opened again (it had been closed for renovations) and a guy was ripping stuff out. He told me that Veg City wasn’t coming back, so I guess it’s closed for good. This was July 2004. It’s too bad, there needs to be more 24 hour veg places. And more rotating vegan cake displays.

  14. Ryan

    Ah, that’s a bummer. I was hoping to try it out on my next trip to NYC.

  15. Cathy

    Yes, Veg City Diner is permanently closed. While doing the renovations, there was a fire and according to the staff it was just to much to reopen there. The owners have opened up a new place called Curly’s Vegetarian Lunch over on 14th St near 1st ave. It’s still basic diner-esque food, lots of good desserts (which they brought in before and still do now), but they’re not 24 hours, I believe they’re open until 11pm or so. I was not a fan of Veg City Diner, the service was slow and as a vegan, I felt that the options were limited and not very tasty. I believe Curly’s food quality is better ( a little salty). The service staff is very nice, but still a little slow. The cubano nuevo sandwich was pretty good and they have vegan soy cheese which is nice. You get a lot of food for your buck and at that, it’s very reasonably priced.

  16. AnnMarie Valle

    Join us in getting Saturn Cafe to bring back the tuno melt!

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