vegan soul food, smoothies + sunday brunch
by the Offline team
Souly Vegan 101
If you didn’t know it was there, you’d almost certainly miss Souly Vegan—it’s hidden away in an unassuming strip mall off Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, easy to zoom by in the thrum of traffic. Despite the tucked away location, it’s become a popular destination for vegans and omnivores alike for its unique offering: vegan soul food.
You may be wondering how you can make this traditionally meat-heavy cuisine with, well, no meat, and that curiosity is what draws so many people into the door. The trick, according to one of the co-owners, is in the seasoning—it’s not the meat that makes soul food delicious, it’s the flavors. And they make sure to pack a flavor punch into all the dishes they serve, which is why most of their customer base aren’t even vegans. The food is just that good.
This family joint is co-owned by a father and son who both spent most of their lives vegan, and wanted to help educate others and show them just how good plant-based food can be. It’s a casual operation, but what they lack in frills they make up for in damn delicious dishes.
What to order
Customers here know that the platters ($12-$16) are the way to go. You get one meat-inspired main—like pulled BBQ made with jackfruit or jerk chicken made with non-gmo soy protein—with rice and gluten-free cornbread, plus your choice of 2-3 sides. Stand-out sides include mac and cheese (yes, it’s vegan and also gluten free), collard greens, candied yams, and fried plantains. For folks who haven’t tried vegan food before, these dishes are approachable and recognizable, even without the meat.
While not printed on the menu yet, Souly Vegan has also been experimenting with some wraps that have already gained a fan base, including a black bean wrap and vegan chicken salad wrap. We can’t promise they’ll always be available, but show you’re in the know and ask about these secret items (hopefully they’ll become mainstays soon!). And there are some delicious sandwiches ($7) on the menu if that’s more your style, like one with Sriracha soy protein and slaw.
There are also salads ($6.75) and smoothies ($7) if you’re not ready to go outside the box with your healthy eats yet. And don’t forget about dessert! Souly Vegan has a rotating selection of vegan cupcakes, cookies, and more for your sweet tooth.
Finally, Souly Vegan has recently started doing Sunday brunch! The menu still isn’t set in stone, but come on Sundays from 12-3p for the likes of vegan chicken biscuits, vegan pancakes, and more.
- Not familiar with vegan food? No problem! The staff at Souly Vegan is always happy to explain a dish to you and generally educate about the plant-based lifestyle.
- Souly Vegan does its best to cater to gluten-free as well as vegan lifestyles. If you’re GF, you’ll just want to avoid anything with soy protein. The sandwiches and wraps can be done with lettuce instead of bread if needed. And, as mentioned earlier, the cornbread and mac and cheese are blessedly gluten free.
- Looking for dinner and a show? Souly Vegan occasionally hosts special events, like live music or belly-dancing classes. Keep an eye on their Instagram or Facebook for announcements!