My office often goes to Duckworth’s for big group gatherings.
It’s within walking distance of our office.
It’s one of the few places on “that side” of Uptown that can accommodate larger groups – farewell parties, team luncheons. There are several large tables and roomy booths, plus two very long tables in the bar. (Most Uptown restaurants are very small, due to high rent.)
It also specializes in “American” food – you know, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, steaks, salads. Uptown workers tend to be rather conventional and unadventerous … Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the US.
So what is there for vegans to eat?
There is, of course, the Impossible Burger. I’ve written about this quite a few times – you can check out reviews here and here. Duckworth’s was the first location in Charlotte to carry the Impossible Burger. And while their rendition is very good (it really does taste different compared to Burger King), it’s a bit pricey for lunch ($16.00; $17.00 with vegan bun).
There is always salad. In every restaurant, in every universe, there is always salad. I’ve gotten the Summer Salad. ($10.99) Leafy mixed greens tossed together with sliced strawberries, dried cranberries, mandarin orange slices, candied pecans, grilled chicken & our house-made garlic vinaigrette dressing, topped with blue cheese crumbles. I order without the chicken and cheese, with extra fruit, and balsamic vinaigrette or oil and vinegar. (They have a few other vegan dressings, but I think these go best with the Summer Salad.)
Be sure to tell your waitperson you are vegan, and this will be your whole meal, and they will usually load up your salad with fruit. Otherwise, they may just make it with standard portions! (Most peeps want a lot of chicken and cheese, and one strawberry, one cranberry, and one mandarin slice. And then they brag about all the fruit they ate that day.) Get a waitperson on your side and you might have a rocking salad!
You can always put a few sides together. From Appetizers you have chips & salsa. You can also request guac with that, although that isn’t specifically listed with the chips on the menu. I know, how exciting. ($4.99). Sides are fries, sweet potato fries, tater tots, a side salad without cheddar, and grilled vegetables.
And then there’s my latest discovery – which is going to be my go-to at these work party lunches from now on. Veggie Fajitas.
I am pleased to say the presentation was incredible! Heads turned as the waitress walked by with my sizzling, steaming pan of veggies. Noses twitched at the tantalizing aroma that wafted behind.
It was a nice assortment of veggies. Onions (of course), both red and green peppers, mushrooms (more than you can see in these pictures), and yellow squash and zucchini. The veggies were cooked just till tender-crisp, so they were all very bright and colorful.
“That looks good! I’m going to get that next time!” my friend Belinda declared.
Other coworkers kept glancing from their hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, to my colorful plate, back to their brown and beige food. I just love it when omnis give my vegan food that jealous side eye.
I am also pleased to say that in addition to looking good, it tasted good! The veggies were very flavorful, neither overcooked nor undercooked. It wasn’t at all greasy, and tasted very FRESH and light.
The veggie fajitas come with small, soft flour tortillas (I think I had four) and a plate of lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. Obviously I requested they hold the cheese and sour cream. I later noted on the menu they had black olives and jalapenos available for pizzas – so in the future I may request a few of those for my fajitas!
It also came with rice. To be honest, I’m not sure what was going on with the rice. I don’t know if the brown stuff was some sort of spice, some kind of grain, or a bit of ground beef crumbles. I will find out and update this post, but at the time, I didn’t ask. With everyone ooohing and aaahing over how good my food looked and smelled, I didn’t want to turn into “that weird, picky vegan”. So I just gave the rice to a coworker.
At $10.99, it’s cheaper than the Impossible Burger, and more substantial than the Summer Salad.
A final note about Duckworth’s … There are not a lot of vegan choices – well, really, not any vegan choices unless you modify existing selections. However, if the menu is not necessarily “vegan friendly,” the staff and management definitely are! At the three locations I’ve been to – Uptown, Ballantyne, and the now-closed Park Road – both the waitpeople and managers have been extremely accommodating. They have answered questions. Suggested modifications (such as a different sauce I could use on my Impossible burger instead of mayo). And have actually brought out products (such as their margarine jug) so I could check the ingredients! They haven’t always gotten everything right – but when they don’t, they are quick to respond and fix things or make amends. I wish all restaurants could be like this.
Duckworth’s Grill and Taproom – 330 North Tryon Street, 980-939-1166
Sun-Wed from 11am-12am
Thurs-Sat from 11am-2am
Full menu available until closing