Always looking to try new local dining establishments, I stumbled upon something a little different that I wanted to experience myself. See, I like different. And since I like different, it tends to be more challenging to dine out.
We are fortunate to have a healthy array (no pun intended) of restaurants in town, and so I decided to give this one featuring 100 percent vegan cuisine a chance.
Dancing Dog Eatery & Juicery is located on Main Street in downtown Urbana, just around the corner from Courier Cafe and across from Crane Alley. According to the hours on their website, they’re open for lunch on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and open for lunch and dinner on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. What is promoted to be a highlight of the week is the vegan deep dish pizza, offered only on Saturday evenings (though if you follow them on social media, you’ll see sometimes they offer it on Fridays, too).
You may be wondering, what exactly sets this place apart as “vegan paradise”? You won’t find any meat, eggs, or dairy included in Dancing Dogs dishes (say that three times fast). Items specifically denoted on their menu can be prepared wheat free, but they were up front in telling me they do not have a separate fryer for wheat free dishes, so allergen-concerned guests will want to take note before visiting.
You will, however, find a relatively wide array, in my opinion, of vegan dishes so that even someone who does not traditionally eat a vegan diet will find something to order. My kids were in school when I visited for lunch, but I wouldn’t hesitate to bring them to Dancing Dog next time when I return to try the vegan pizza. Even if there’s not a dish on the menu that appeals to your kids, you can always order some french fries (a kid favorite) or hit the juice bar to let your kids order something satisfying there.
First up, I ordered the spicy Buffalo cauliflower bites with vegetables and (vegan) ranch. I could have ordered a second order of these! They were so full of flavor. I ordered them without being battered and they were still delicious. I also had never had vegan ranch in my life and left Googling how to make it at home. A perfect appetizer.
Next, was my more adventurous order: their “classic burger,” a quinoa, beet and chickpea burger served on a bun (mine was wheat free) and a side of fries. These are simply potatoes fried up, no extra additives or anything you may want to avoid in your food here, friends. When I loaded my “burger” up with lettuce, tomato and cucumber, I briefly forgot I wasn’t going to be biting into a burger made from ground beef. Now, yes, the taste is different (it is quinoa, beets and chickpeas, after all!) but like the appetizer I tried, it is full of flavor and completely delicious. It started to fall apart as I got to the very end, but doesn’t that happen with any good burger?
There were so many more things I wanted to try on the menu but that concluded my first visit. When I return, I’ll bring one or both of my kids (my daughter tends to be more adventurous like me, so I know she’d appreciate this place) and I absolutely plan to visit on a Saturday night to try that vegan deep dish pizza. Seeing how they prepare their other dishes, I have no doubt that it is amazing, too.
Park in the lot behind Dancing Dog (off Race Street) or the garage across Main Street and you’ll be right where you want to be!