The Nuggett Downtown Grill rolls out new vegan friendly menu

NILES — Packed with protein and veggies, The Nuggett Downtown Grill’s vegan friendly menu seeks to offer customers a healthy meal option, without compromising on flavor.

The menu was designed by restaurant manager Wynter Dulemba and was offered to customers at the start of the year. While some might have the notion that vegans — vegetarians who do not eat animal products — can eat little more than beans and rice, Dulemba’s menu shows otherwise.

The menu offers items like black bean and quinoa Mexican style wraps, to hearty items like homemade chili, tacos and a quinoa and black bean patty dinner. Salad, a number of sides and even vegan brownies are available for customers to choose from. Several of the items are also gluten free. The price ranges from $5.50 to $10.

For the past year, Dulemba said she has had a variety of customers visit The Nuggett in search of vegan or vegetarian menu items. This, combined with her own practices as a vegan for the last six months, encouraged her to create a vegan friendly menu.

At work, Dulemba said it was not easy to find something on The Nuggett’s menu that she could have for lunch or dinner.

“I was like, ‘well we have a baked potato, we have broccoli, we have a salad,’” Dulemba said. “Every day I was bringing my own food, bread and all.”

With experience cooking as a vegan, Dulemba had some guidance for crafting a varied menu and some tips for cooks at the Nuggett. She said she takes pride that the menu is made fresh and in-house.

“We start with the raw deal of everything,” Dulemba said. “It is all fresh and we season it ourselves. My kitchen manager, Miki, is awesome and was on board because she likes to try new things.”

While word about the newest addition to the new menu is still getting around, Dulemba said she has gotten some interest. Since offering the menu, she has had some new customers, including one woman who she said works down the block, but had not patronized the restaurant before. When the customer heard about the menu, she dropped by for lunch. 

“I already know that I got different clients and would not have gotten without [the menu],” Dulemba said. “I noticed that business had dropped. I guess, I am trying to bring in more people.”

She encouraged customers who sample the menu to offer future suggestions, as well as their thoughts and critiques. Additionally, Dulemba said she felt proud to build on the menu her parents created when they first opened the restaurant in 1981.

For those who have both vegans and meat lovers in the family, the various menus still appeal to all appetites. The restaurant is known for its burgers, fries and fried mushrooms, to name just a few menu items.

“I don’t like to step on people’s toes [who] are meat eaters,” Dulemba said. “I support anybody who is here to eat, but if someone is interested, of course vegetables are great for you.”

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