127 18th Street, Philadelphia PA 19103
215-278-7605 *They offer local delivery!
Jamie and I had the pleasure of sitting down with the owner of Hip City Veg, Nicole Marquis and her general manager, Michelle. Nicole and Michelle were both so friendly, charismatic, caring and full of great energy. They just finished celebrating their one year birthday. Nicole said since the first hour they opened their doors they were slammed and things haven’t quieted down since. Philadelphia welcomed Hip City Veg with open arms, the city was ready for a place to open that serves high quality food fresh and fast. The space is beautiful and quaint. The staff is very welcoming, even to the mommies out there with strollers and toddlers. They will even bring the order out to the moms so they don’t have to try and push their strollers through the crowds. The fresh flowers and eco friendly decor fill the the space that fits about four tables and a counter window table for seating. There is also a sweet bench outside with a table. Take out seems to be most popular with a lunch line that stretches down the street but they also deliver by bike messenger to reduce their carbon footprint. The menu is %100 plant based and full of taste and color! They serve items such as: jerk ceasar salad, chopped mediterranean salad, argula taco salad, classic veg burger, philly steak, buffalo bello, sweet potato fries, cookies, cupcakes, shakes, green lemonade and their famous groothie, just to name a few items. All of which is under $10! Isn’t your mouth watering? The food is just as amazing as it sounds! The groothie is a green drink that changes daily but always includes organic, local ingredients. We were given a groothie with organic spinach, local pineapples, apples and bananas.- yum!!!
Nicole explained she was living in California and went to school for drama, she traveled in Europe acting but also had a passion for nutrition. When she came back to the states she wanted a change and read the China Study and Eat to Live. Because of her passion for business and nutrition she came up with the idea to open Hip City Veg. That idea was just 5 years ago and today they are thriving and opening another location on Penn’s campus in August that will seat 39 people. One of the things that makes her successful is her business model- fresh food done fast. Nicole promotes delicious plant based food that is affordable, convenient and full of taste. Hip City Veg isn’t just for vegans, their clientele comes from a wide range of food preferences and some don’t even realize what they ate wasn’t really “chicken”. Nicole says some are really surprised to learn that they ate a %100 plant based meal since it tastes so much like the “real thing”. Nicole says this has opened doors to the plant based world, people really enjoy the food and go home and start doing research on the benefits of a plant based lifestyle. Hip City Veg is more then happy to give out samples and share their knowledge and information to those interested in learning more. They believe in the philosophy so much that everything down to their cleaning products are eco friendly and sustainable. Michelle said that what makes them successful is simplicity- they serve great food! It sets them apart from the other restaurants that serve food fast because they put the money into their product. They have a fun kids menu too offering foods like nuggets and sweet potato fries.
Nicole says this is beyond her wildest dreams. Five years ago it was all a dream and now to be opening a second location shows not only how delicious the food is but also how needed a place like Hip City Veg is in our community. Nicole worked with chef Rich Landau of Vedge to create a menu that is not just %100 plant based but just good tasting food done fast. Please visit Hip City Veg, you may even run into a celeb or two that has come to enjoy the groothie just like you. There are some places I walk into to that make me feel healthier for visiting and Hip City Veg makes me feel happy and healthy, they have an amazing energy that you not just feel in their welcome but in their great food. Jamie and I brought my little guy Jake who is 3 1/2 and her 3 week old with us, Jake loved being there and loved, loved their brownie!!! 3 year old approved for sure!!! Nicole, thank you for taking the time to meet with us and share your story. We are all better for having you in our community and hope that you branch off to the suburbs because we definitely need you out here.
For our taste testing at HipCityVeg, we were served Udon Noodle Salads, the Ziggy Burger, Crispy Hipcity Ranch chick’n sandwich for lunch and a Groothie to drink.
The Udon Noodle Salad: chinese black bean dressing, sprouts, arugula, carrots, cabbage, daikon, peanuts and spicy glazed chick’n. The perfect meal if you want a salad but also need it to have something more…. This looked like something my husband would eat and I wanted an opinion from a non-vegetarian. Steve will only eat vegetarian “meat” if it has a lot of flavor and tastes close to the real thing. He loved it!
The Ziggy Burger: classic with smoked tempeh and special sauce. I thought this was amazing! It has been over 18 years since I have had a Big Mac, but it definitely reminded me of one right away. Great if you are craving a burger and MUCH better for you than the alternative fast food served by chain brands.
Crispy Hipcity Ranch chick’n sandwich -battered chick’n, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles & peppercorn ranch. I also enjoyed this sandwich and my husband couldn’t believe that it wasn’t real chicken! Like the Ziggy burger (featured above) everything is packaged in an eco-friendly fashion, meaning that all packaging is compostable or recyclable. Many of the plastic looking packaging items are actually made from plants!
Groothie – organic leafy greens (today was spinach), organic apples, bananas and seasonal fruit (today was pineapple). I really could have made a meal with this drink all alone. It was filling, refreshing and delicious! The added fruit made it sweet and easy to drink. Great for someone experiencing their first green smoothie for sure!
They were also nice enough to let our youngest taste-tester, Jake 3 years old, try their signature brownie and vanilla cupcake. Of course he, and we, loved it. And check out this cute eco-friendly way they sell their brownies: Great alternative to plastic wrap and something we can all do at home!
Overall my impressions of HipCityVeg were that it is a friendly and clean environment that is also welcoming for children. I love that they use fresh, local, and organic ingredients whenever possible. The cute eco-friendly packaging is an added bonus to make you feel even better about eating there. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for anyone, but especially for those interested in adopting a plant-based diet or considering going veg. I know in the beginning of a dietary transition it is hard to find food that reminds you of old favorites and comfort food without blowing your new diet. HipCityVeg can definitely make that transition easier by offering fresh and tasty food that is cholesterol free and much better for you than typical fast-food!