When I walked into HipCityVeg, conveniently located in the heart of Washington, DC, a happy and friendly general manager named Rodney greeted me with the type of genuine welcome that doesn’t always accompany a meal in a fast-casual, bustling city food joint. Wearing a shirt that read, “Plant Manager,” Rodney rattled off the HipCityVeg favorites (Philly Steak and Crispy HipCity Ranch) and told me about the company’s start in Philadelphia.
I was ready to dig in. Curious to taste the second tier offerings, I opted for the slightly healthier Chipotle Fajita Wrap (blackened chick’n, onion, pepper, cabbage, pico de gallo, avocado, and chipotle crema). Even though the restaurant was packed, I stood on a fast-moving line for a few minutes and received my order in under five.
I easily could have confused the wrap for the most popular dishes: a crispy, succulent smorgasbord of veggies, plant-based chick’n, and dressing in a perfectly sealed, hot, fresh wrap. Only the presence of others kept me from swallowing it hole. Savory. Delightful. Spot on. At $10.15, it’s reasonably priced for the size and the city. It was one of those choices that, when I return, I’ll be hard pressed not to order again.
HipCityVeg caters to a diverse population, not just because it’s in the city but because it’s across the street from Capital One Arena where the Washington Wizards play and where comedians and musicians host concerts. It’s perfectly situated on a street with no shortage of competition–inside and outside the arena. With signs adorning the walls making it clear that HipCityVeg’s mission is compassion and stewardship of the planet, and with copies of The China Study for sale on a bookshelf, the restaurant provides humane and sustainable food and an inspiring message.
As I sat next to a group of people talking about how they’re successfully eating less meat thanks to places like HipCityVeg, I felt grateful to the restaurant’s founder, Nicole Marquis, and to Rodney and his hardworking team for providing people with a better alternative to animal-derived food. Places like HipCityVeg show meat eaters that it’s possible to eat delicious, convenient, and affordable food without harming animals and the planet.
The 100% vegan menu offers a variety of options including cupcakes and brownies from nearby Sticky Fingers. The spot is clean but compact. The service is fast and friendly. If you don’t mind standing or taking it to go on a busy night–seating is limited although spaces become available quickly, and if you’re in the mood for something satisfying, easy, and reasonable, I highly recommend HipCityVeg. You’ll feel good being there–and you’ll do good eating there.
Update: Since my initial visit, I met with the Josh, the regional manager, and Michelle, the general manager, at the restaurant, and I spoke with Nicole, the founder, via email. These are really friendly and caring people. You can feel very comfortable supporting HipCityVeg.