Vegan Phoenix: Volstead – Best Vegan Grilled Cheese in the Valley
Arizona gets more vegan-friendly every year:
I remember it being hard to find places to eat when I first took the plunge 6 years ago. Today there are more than 15 strict vegan Phoenix restaurants (plus 16 vegetarian places!). Talk about progress!
This is just as much of a shock to me as the next person! This ultra-conservative desert state is the last place I’d think of for vegan food. Luckily the vegan Phoenix community seems to just be strengthened by the opposition.
All this growth is amazing, but it leaves the vegan Phoenix population confused;
- What’s vegan?
- What’s just vegetarian?
- Is it gonna break the bank?
- What kind of food does the restaurant serve?
- Will my omni friends enjoy it as much as the vegans?
Never fear! I frequent all the local spots (when I’m too lazy to cook!), so you don’t have to do any more guessing!
Other Fabulous Resources I Use:
Vegan Grilled Cheese Galore at Volstead Public House
Volstead is one of the newer places to the valley, opened late 2015 in Downtown Mesa! Attached to the front of the historic Nile Theater, this coffee shop/cafe/bar gave the area a much-needed shot of adrenaline.
This was initially shocking to me! Before, I had yet to see anyone under the age of 65 walking around.. (There are 6 antique stores side-by-side, I can’t blame them!)
However, I have always had a love affair with the area… the exposed brick buildings from the 1900’s just scream to be admired! I found myself
feeling like a social outcast wandering the antique shops alone. (My guilty pleasure.. There’s a reason I can’t blame them!)
“I’m not lost! Stop asking, Winifred!!”
After speaking with the owners, preserving the beautiful history of Mesa is part of the goal!
Originally built in 1924, the Nile Theater has been a clothing store, nightclub, dinner theater, and even a church! This team, however, is working hard to reestablish Downtown Mesa as a place for rich history, good (vegan) food, and awesome live events.
I’m Just Here for the Vegan Phoenix Food!
Right, let’s get to the facts!
Vibe: Bring Your Laptop… Or Your Little Black Dress?
Volstead has an interesting mix of vibes. First of all, it is my go-to coffee shop. Being so close to home, I easily spend at least 6 hours there a week (in fact, I’m sitting here now writing this!).
The cafe’s raw brick walls are beautifully worn down. I was instantly drawn to the black and white artwork hanging on them!
Along with vintage pictures of dirt-road-mainstreet-Mesa, there’s something else.. Most of the pictures are of people celebrating the repeal of prohibition! (*COUGH* The Volstead Act!)
Did I mention they serve alcohol!?
During the day it boasts a laid-back atmosphere. I find it easy to get work done on my laptop.. In fact, most of what I see during the day is people scattered across the room working on laptops. I’m definitely not alone!
On weekend evenings, (when they’re open ’till 10pm) Volstead showcases a completely different energy! Their cocktail menu, mood lighting, and occasional live music deliver a surprisingly intimate experience.
It’s those damn exposed bricks, they get me every time!! 😂
The only downside:
Volstead is literally attached to the Nile Theater.. This means you might occasionally hear bands conducting sound-checks.
It sometimes gets loud and distracting, but considering often I’m there, it’s fairly infrequent.
Vegan/Vegetarian Status: Vegan with Vegetarian Options
What does “vegan with vegetarian options” even mean? This means everything on the menu is vegan, but they offer vegetarian options for those who want it. This is good place for those annoying omnivore friends that refuse to eat out with you because of the “weird food”.
Best Options for First-Timers:
My all-time favorite menu item is the Squawker Texas Ranger (pictured above). It’s a heavenly grilled cheese with vegan “chicken”, spicy buffalo sauce, mozzarella “cheese”, ranch, and mixed greens! Pair this with one of their amazing teas (or a vegan latte) and you have my attention. Anytime, anywhere.
Confession: It’s what I get every single time. It’s just so damn good!!
In addition to the amazing grilled cheeses, Volstead won Phoenix Magazine’s 2016 Best of the Valley Award for Best Vegan Treats. Hot damn, the place is barely a year old and you’re winning Best of the Valley awards!?
Free WiFi?: YES!
Do any coffee shops not have free WiFi!? REJOICE!
How are the Prices?
Luckily for me, the prices aren’t terrible! I get a vegan sandwich (made with a local sourdough!), a side, and a large coffee for less than $15. It may seem a bit much, but it’s cheaper than some other vegan restaurants in the area.
They also have an awesome punch-card system that scores me a free drink every 10 visits.. which happens more often than you’d think 😉
Volstead Public House should definitely be on your vegan-phoenix-restaurant-bucket-list. (What? You don’t have one of those for your city??)
- Laid back, laptop-friendly day vibes
- Rockin’ night hours
- Locally made sourdough bread from Proof Bakery
- Fair prices
- Bomb f*cking vegan grilled cheeses
Need I say more!?