Living Vegan In Charlotte, NC

Restaurant Review – Flying Biscuit Cafe

The Flying Biscuit Cafe is a Southern diner, but it’s not your mother’s Southern diner.  It has all the old, familiar standbys – fried green tomatoes, collards, grits, breakfast all day – but it’s got a bright, funky, crowded vibe.  Lines and the wait to be seated can be long, especially for weekend brunch.  People either love it or hate it.

Me, I’m mostly frustrated by it.

  1. The menu.  The Flying Biscuit is widely known as “vegetarian friendly,” but one quick glance at the menu seems to suggest they have only one vegan item – the Vegan BBQ Burrito (“BBQ tofu, collard greens, and mushrooms folded in a sun-dried tomato tortilla topped with salsa verde”).  In fact, The Flying Biscuit does have a number of vegan choices, but there’s no way you can tell that by the menu.  For example, the house-made veggie patties they use on their Angel and Devil Burgers are vegan, but that’s not stated anywhere on the menu.  I had to send emails to find that out.
  2. The feta cheese.  The Flying Biscuit has a serious feta cheese fetish, and they put it in almost everything – even places it really shouldn’t be in, such as the otherwise vegan Tofu & Tater Salad (“tamari-marinated tofu and oven-roasted rosemary potatoes on a bed of field greens tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and topped with feta cheese and red onion spears”). If you tell them to keep their feta cheese to themselves, several more options become vegan.
  3. The food execution varies greatly.  Consistency is definitely an issue.  And, unfortunately, with several of their signature dishes that means it’s either very, very good or very, very bad.  I’ve had the Vegan BBQ Burrito when it was great!  But when my partner recently ordered it,  instead of draining the collards, the chef apparently just dipped some collards out of the pot and flung them into the burrito, along with about 1/4 a cup of “pot likker.”  Result:  a super-soggy, awful mess.  And, I’ve ordered the Tofu & Tater Salad when the tofu was definitely NOT marinated like the menu said, but just cold, plain, fish belly white tofu crumbled on the salad with a shake of tamari sauce on top.  Yum!  Plain room temperature tofu!  Woohoo!  Glad I’m paying money for this (not)!
  4. The biscuits and butter.  Yes, I KNOW the restaurant is called “The Flying Biscuit” and they are quite proud of their biscuits.  But how bizarre is it when you order the Vegan BBQ Burrito – or another vegan meal, asking all the correct vegan questions like, “You’re sure there is no dairy or eggs in this, right?  And please leave off the feta cheese” – and there, on your plate, is one of their (non-vegan) biscuits and a foil-wrapped pat (or two) of real butter?

I’ll break down the menu a little bit more for you, but here are your best vegan options:

  • Vegan BBQ Burrito.  This is a must-try if you like BBQ and collards.
  • Scrambled Tofu – (“Red & green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and spinach sautéed with tamari-marinated tofu and served with fresh fruit.”)  Request it not be cooked in butter.
  • The Devil Burger – (“Spicy and hot!! Veggie and grain patty topped with feta cheese, red onions, smoky jalapeno sauce, lettuce, and tomato.”)  Leave off the feta cheese.
  • The Angel Burger – (“Veggie and grain patty with lettuce, tomato, and roasted red pepper mustard.”)
  • Roasted Red Pepper Hummus or Roasted Red Pepper Hummus WrapMinus the feta cheese, of course!  
  • Love Cakes or Side of Love – Black bean and cornmeal cakes, with no egg used as binder!  Served with salsa, sour cream, feta cheese, and red onions – ask for the sour cream and feta cheese to be left off.
  • Tofu and Tater Salad, without the feta cheese.  I could do without the tofu, I guess – especially when they don’t bother to marinate it!  Ick!  But I do like the combination of the potatoes, salad dressing, and salad greens.

More detailed breakdown:

AppetizersFlying Fried Green Tomatoes are vegetarian, not vegan (contains milk and eggs).  Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is vegan if you leave off the feta cheese.  Side of Love (two black bean cakes) is vegan if you leave off the feta cheese and sour cream.  The Small Black Bean Quesadilla is vegetarian, not vegan, with white cheddar cheese and sour cream.  You could try it without those, but I’m not sure how tasty that would be.  Side Salad should be vegan, but double-check they don’t sneak any feta cheese on it!  You’ll have to ask about the Stoup of the Day (a “cross between stew and soup”).

Signature Salads – The Tofu and Tater Salad is vegetarian, vegan if you leave off the feta cheese.

SandwichesBlack Bean Quesadilla is vegetarian.  Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Wrap is vegetarian, vegan without the feta cheese.  The BBQ Burrito and Angel Burger is vegan.  The Devil Burger is vegetarian, vegan without the feta cheese.

Super SuppersLove Cakes (three black bean patties) are vegetarian, vegan without the sour cream and feta cheese.

Breakfast All Day – If you’re a vegetarian that eats eggs, you have a ton of options, from eggs any way you want them to scrambles to omelettes to French toast and pancakes.  Just read the description carefully – many plates come with chicken sausage or turkey bacon.  If you’re a vegetarian that eats dairy but no eggs, you can swap the egg in the Meggxican Wrap with tofu.  (I wouldn’t recommend the Meggxican Wrap for vegans, however – it comes with cheese, sour cream, and non-vegan grits – that’s a lot to swap out, especially for a place this rushed.)  Vegans have the Tofu Scramble – request it not be cooked in butter.  The Veggie Soysage is Morningstar Farms – not vegan (contains dairy and egg).  The biscuits are not vegan.

SidesOven-Roasted “Moon Dusted” Rosemary Potatoes are vegan.  I’m assuming the Collard Greens are vegan, since they go in the Vegan BBQ wrap!  I’m not sure about the Green Beans – I’m guessing they have real butter (but I could be wrong).  Of course the Creamy-Dreamy Grits, Biscuits, Grilled Macaroni and Cheese, and Pudge (mashed potatoes) are not vegan.

The Flying Biscuit Cafe is a chain with multiple locations mostly in Georgia and North Carolina.  Two Charlotte Locations:

Park Road Shopping Center, 4241 Park Road, Charlotte, NC.  Hours 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM daily, except for Sundays, 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM.

Stonecrest Shopping Center – 7930 Rea Road, Charlotte, NC.  Hours 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM daily, except Sundays and Mondays, 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Flying Biscuit Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Categorised in: American, Restaurant Reviews, Southern Cuisine

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