The Irregardless Cafe

I am a vegan, which makes eating out a daunting task in Raleigh, North Carolina. Even finding vegetarian-friendly restaurants is difficult, and when you finally find one, the options are about as bland as unseasoned tofu.

In fact, I used to avoid going to restaurants out of fear of becoming one of those annoying customers, questioning everything on the menu. Due to my limited diet, visits to restaurant s have typically been a hassle—until now.

Located on Hillsborough Street, in downtown Raleigh, Irregardless Café is the answer to my cruelty-free eating prayers.

Perhaps, the best thing about Irregardless is that the menu changes with the season. This is because the food Irregardless uses is organic and locally grown. To me, this is what sets Irregardless apart from the average restaurant.

It is a lot like eating a tomato from the Farmers Market. If you have ever eaten one, especially when tomatoes are harvested at their peak, you can usually taste the difference—the tomatoes are fresher; the flavor is stronger.

Every dish prepared at Irregardless is assembled with foods that are in season, which always ensures superior flavor.

With dishes like vegetable curry, portabella polenta and tofu stir-fry, Irregardless has a wide variety of options for vegans, vegetarians and even the gluten intolerant.

According to my friends, the meat entrées found at Irregardless are quite good. They seem to be big fans of the grass-fed beef kabobs which are “fun to eat” and “delicious.”

I may not be a proponent of meat eating, but I can appreciate that at least Irregardless knows where their beef comes from –Noohe Rooka farms to be exact.  

Choosing my favorite dish from the Irregardless menu is a hard decision because I enjoy just about every vegan option on the menu. If I had to choose, however, the stir-fried tofu would probably win my vote.

I always hesitate when ordering tofu because I typically run into two problems. Either the tofu is an overcooked, rubbery block of boring or a crispy, over fried excuse for a sponge.  Both of these options are unappetizing and frighten me whenever I see “tofu” on a menu.

This being said, I never have to worry about tofu at Irregardless because the texture is always perfect, and nothing is ever overcooked or under-seasoned. 

Price wise, Irregardless dishes range between 6 and 25 dollars, with filet mignon being the most expensive. While it is no Backyard Burger, your money is well spent on good-sized portions and excellent flavor.

The final verdict? Irregardless is a refreshing change from the average restaurant, and I recommend it to anyone who is in search of locally grown, organic food.

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