By Clare Kocher
A safe haven for vegetarians and vegans alike, The Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant was recently voted to have the best vegetarian menu options in the Champaign-Urbana area.
Located at 1209 W. Oregon St, Urbana, The Red Herring can initially be difficult to find due to its residence in the basement of the Channing-Murray Foundation, a Unitarian-Universalist campus-community center. In addition to offering a myriad of inclusive programs, the Channing-Murray Foundation’s basement is home to this unique eatery.
Closed all weekends, The Red Herring is only open Monday through Friday for lunch (11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and dinner once a week on Wednesday evenings (from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.) These Wednesday evenings have a special twist to them, however, serving as “fusion dinners” themed after a different culture each week.
Wednesday, September 26, was the German fusion dinner. Upon entering the premises, you are presented with the menu on the side of the wall and can order from there. Inside of the restaurant, a mixture of students and professors gather, all with the same “hippy/vegan” vibe. For this particular evening, for only nine dollars I was able to order a cup of mushroom barley soup, german cucumber salad, tender sweet and sour red cabbage, and lentils cooked with tempeh “sausage” & kale.
Although German myself, I have never been the biggest fan of the sour flavors that the food tends to have, but was immediately in love with this meal. Upon each bite, you can tell that it is fresh, good quality food. My personal favorite was the mushroom barley soup, which reminded me of Christmas dinners at my grandma’s house. Although not as much of a fan of the red cabbage, I found that when mixed with the German cucumber salad, it was more satisfying to my palate. I left the Red Herring full to the brim and with a box of leftovers in hand.
I was also able to glimpse the sign detailing the upcoming vegan fusion meals on Wednesday nights, and fully intend on returning for Thai night on October 10! The schedule can be found on the Red Herring Facebook page as well.