Dietary restrictions? Where to eat when there’s nowhere to eat

Breanna Cataldo, Features Editor

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If you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-intolerant or on any type of diet with food restrictions, you’ve probably spent quite a bit of time looking for places to eat here in Jacksonville.

Diets can be frustrating sometimes, especially to those with allergies who can’t help it. So, I compiled a list of restaurants in Jacksonville that can cater to your dietary needs.

Let’s start with breakfast:

Sweet Theory Baking Co is a small bakery in the Riverside area of Jacksonville. The drive might be a little far, but I can assure you it’s worth it. Sweet Theory sells all vegan home-made donuts, biscuits, muffins, coffee cake, brownies and more. Not only are they home-made, but they’re also always made fresh the day of. The earlier you get there, the better your chances are of having a full array of options. My personal favorite is the “Double Down” biscuit, it comes with white bean sausage, vegan butter and coconut bacon. For a shortcut to the menu, click here.

The Ugly Cupcake Muffinry is another breakfast spot that has vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. This breakfast spot is a little closer to UNF. In the little homely building seconds away from Jacksonville Beach, the muffins are home-made and the options are always changing. Regardless of the changing flavors, there’s always vegan muffins available, my favorite is the vegan raspberry muffin. If you’re someone who likes a little more stability in their menus, The Ugly Cupcake Muffinry also has a normal menu, with more than just muffins. One portion of their menu is dedicated to vegan scrambles, but there are more vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options throughout. For more info and a better look at the menu, click here.

Now it’s lunch time:

Tossgreen is only a few minutes away from UNF, in the St. Johns Town Center. It’s the perfect spot to grab a light and healthy lunch. The set-up is similar to Chipotle, but with healthier options. If you’re still a little full from breakfast, they also offer fresh and nutrient-filled juices. My favorite dish is the Key-vocado, and make sure you get a fresh lime squeeze added to it. For a better look at the menu, click here.

House of Leaf & Bean is right before the Beach Blvd. bridge that leads to the beaches. It’s modern decor really helps to set the mood, with an abundance of plants inside. I will say, this place is a bit more on the pricey side, but the Crispy Tofu Bites make it all okay. House of Leaf & Bean is known to be a fusion of Asian and Western culinary traditions. They offer tons of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, but they also have a few items that contain meat for the omnivore friends. Click here for the menu.

Pieology has every pizza-craving vegans’ back. What sets this build-your-own pizza place apart from the others are the crust and cheese options. If you’re searching for a healthier dough, Pieology offers a cauliflower pizza crust. The cauliflower crust isn’t dairy or gluten-free, but there are gluten-free crust options for those with gluten allergies. They also offer a dairy-free cheese to top your pizza with, along with a nut-free pesto sauce. For more information, click here.

Native Sun is a grocery store with a food and smoothie bar. Their grocery section is mostly plant-based and all-natural. There are multiple locations around Jacksonville, but the closest to UNF is in Jax Beach. The lunch menu at Native Sun changes occasionally, but there’s always an abundance of vegan, vegetarian, gluten and dairy free options. If you’re in a rush, they have a refrigerated section with meals and snacks already made. To find a location closest to you, or to take a look at the menu, click here.

Now, we finish with Dinner:

BurgerFi is a modern-looking burger joint. They have regular burgers, vegetarian and vegan burgers. If you’re gluten-free, then you can’t eat the buns. They do, however, offer a “green style” option, which would substitute the buns with lettuce, for those who are gluten-free or looking to cut carbs. My favorite veggie burger they offer is the Vegan Beyond Burger. To read more about their veggie options, click here.

True Food is the place to go when you’re feeling a bit more fancy, or maybe in the mood for a nice date night. Luckily, True Food is close-by in the St. Johns Town Center.  This is more of an up-scale restaurant, which means it’ll also be a little more on the pricey side, but what better way to spoil yourself than with healthy food? For more information, click here.

TacoLu has an exciting environment and even more exciting food choices. If you’re gluten-free, you’re able to ask your servers for gluten-free alternatives to almost any dish on the menu. For those who are vegan or vegetarian, they have avocado, veggie and Tempeh tacos that are all meat-less. The avocado and veggie tacos aren’t dairy-free, but they can be upon request. Click this link to take a look at the menu for yourself.

Next time you’re unsure of where to eat for your dietary necessities, give any of the places above a try!

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