Food Issue 2017: Classics go veg

Familiar favorites made vegan-friendly, which is good news for your vegetarian friend, too.

click to enlarge Food Issue 2017: Classics go veg
Meaghan Habuda

GREEN TOMATO VACON MELT at COMMUNITY CAFE

Raw green tomato, Swiss and thick house-made vegan bacon, or vacon, as the Grand Central District café calls it, team up for a veg-friendly variation on a classic. The grilled sandwich’s final component, irresistible marble rye, makes the Green Tomato Vacon Melt, whose tangy bacon makes it taste a little like the Thousand Island dressing found on a Reuben, an ample meal you’ll want to come back for. 2444 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-222-6979, communitycafestpete.com. —Meaghan Habuda

MUFFULETTA at THE CIDER PRESS CAFÉ

Ever had the modest, surprising treat that is this vegan take on a New Orleans must-have, one that non-meat-eaters typically don’t get to enjoy? Consider this your heads up. With all the beloved flavors muffuletta fanatics salivate over, the plant-based café’s cold interpretation showcases vegan pepperoni, salami and cheese — plus a spicy olive salad, of course — on a kaiser roll. Grab it from the to-go case if you’re in a hurry. 601 Central Ave. N., St. Petersburg, 727-914-7222, ciderpresscafe.com. —Meaghan Habuda

click to enlarge Food Issue 2017: Classics go veg
Nicole Abbett

PULLED BBQ SANDWICH at LOVE FOOD CENTRAL

No, you’re not going to “trick” any carnivores into thinking LFC’s vegan jackfruit is actually pork. But that doesn’t matter. The texture is satisfyingly similar, and this sandwich — with greens, avocado, soy-free Vegenaise and barbecue sauce on toasted sourdough — is tasty (and novel!) enough to stand on its own. 2057 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-317-2034, lovefoodcentral.com. —Scott Harrell

TOFOAGIE at LA V

It’s easy to mistake tofu for chicken at the Vietnamese fusion spot. The Tofoagie, or tofu bánh mì, is a rich lunch or dinner, and its filling, a surprisingly complex flavor combo sparked by jalapeño peppers, bursts out of a stretch of baguette. A most satisfying ’wich. 441 Central Ave.,  St. Petersburg, 727-820-3500, lavfusion.com. —Kate Bradshaw 

click to enlarge Food Issue 2017: Classics go veg
Alexandria Jones
VLT at CAFE HEY

As someone who’s not vegan, I forget that this pressed classic-with-a-twist’s bacon isn’t real pork. The other key elements — lettuce and tomato — taste as if they'e plucked fresh each morning, their flavors accented by Vegenaise. Pair this toothsome sandwich with a Ginseng Up soda for the ultimate lunchtime spread. 1540 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-221-5150, cafehey.com. —Alexandria Jones

For more of our 50 Best Sandwiches, follow the sounds of growling bellies.

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