Vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free food isn’t what I would normally think about when lunching out, but my experience at The Green Owl Café changed that.
As you enter the café, you cannot help but notice the collection of vintage owls. The restaurant, which opened in December 2009, is a local favorite and very warm and inviting.
I enjoyed talking with the proprietor and chef, Jennie, about what makes dishes vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, and I learned a lot!
As I peered through the lunch menu, there was a great selection of vegetarian and vegan options. Just to name a few, it included vegan crabby cakes, vegetarian Italian beef and vegetarian meatballs in marinara.
There are also great dinner choices, including vegan schnitzel, stuffed red peppers, un-chicken parmesan and vegetarian jambalaya.
For my lunch, I chose their TLT with avocado sandwich. This was smoky baked tempeh, lettuce, tomato and avocado served on Madison Sourdough (a favorite local Madison bakery), with a vegan aioli. This take on the traditional BLT sandwich was excellent! I had never tried tempeh before, and it was a really tasty bacon replacement.
I also enjoyed perfectly baked kale chips. Now, when I try to make these at home, they usually burn, but at The Green Owl Café, they toss the kale with olive oil and a blend of spices and then bake it to a crispy perfection.
I also tried a beverage that was new to me called Kombucha. This is a fermented tea made with organic and fair trade ingredients. I tried the cherry berry flavor, which is brewed at The Green Owl Café. They also brew a lemon basil flavor. The teas are light and refreshing, and filled with antioxidants.
I’ll blame my sweet tooth, but I couldn’t leave The Green Owl Café without trying one of their desserts. They have a pastry chef on site, and the daily special board contained a variety of great desserts.
I chose the coconut cream pie, which was vegan, gluten-free and soy-free. The pie was extremely creamy, with toasted coconut on top, and just the right amount of sweetness. At long last, I felt like I was actually being more health conscious by eating a dessert!
The Green Owl Café also has brunch on Sunday, a kids’ menu, a full bar, and an appetizer menu. It lives up to its slogan, “Vegetarian and vegan cuisine for people who love food.” I highly recommend checking them out!
The Green Owl Café
1970 Atwood Ave., Madison
Hours: M closed, Tu-Sa 11-9, Su 9-2