Since becoming vegan, pizza as I always knew it has become a thing of the past. I can make my own pizza at home using a vegan cheese like Daiya but ordering pizza with my family has become a cringe-worthy feat. Blackjack Pizza has been my sole option for getting a vegan pizza and I’m not going to deny the pizza I order from Blackjack is delicious. I get the square crust, olive oil and garlic sauce, then top it with veggies. It’s like veggie garlic bread rather than pizza and I will admit the veggies have a tendency to roll off. I’ve never minded but I didn’t realize how completely I’d given up getting an actual pizza, vegan, with cheese, until my niece suggested we go to Beau-Jo’s.
My niece has been staying with us for a little over a week and I’ve been steadily introducing her to vegan food items. She’s been surprised at how good vegan food it; at times, better than it’s animal-based counterpart. She’s an excellent listener but I admit I was hesitant when she suggested a pizza parlor. I was at work so couldn’t check out the menu myself but no need: she’d already done so. She wanted to go because Monday was balloon animal night and kids ate for free so she’d prepared a defense for every argument my vegan self could invent. Yes I could eat there, I could get tofu on my pizza if I wanted, and there was a gluten free crust. The menu even offered a dairy-free mozzarella. I could get a pizza with cheese?
Off to Beau-Jo’s we went.
Beau-Jo’s is a fun place. The ceiling is low, which made me feel a little claustrophobic, but the restaurant isn’t so loud it’s impossible to hold a conversation with the person across the table. There are several televisions mounted displaying various sports shows but beautiful nature photography lines the walls for those of us seeking to turn our eyes elsewhere. I was highly covetous of the two antique stoves that greeted me when my family and I walked through the door and the friendly wait staff helped prepare me to enjoy my evening. We were seated and I dived into the menu, looking for the vegan options.
I chuckled as I found hummus listed in the appetizer section: I’m going to have to start a list of restaurants offering hummus to the vegans-what would we do without it?-but flipped to the build your own pizza section. I decided to try the gluten-free crust and topped that with tofu, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and the dairy-free mozzarella. I requested the entire thing be topped with fresh basil. I waited, alone and hungry, while my family visited the buffet and then, at last, my pizza arrived. (It wasn’t that long: maybe twenty minutes but we’d headed off directly after work and I was STARVING!) The pizza was well worth it.
I’d wondered if I’d dislike the gluten-free crust: some of that gluten-free stuff is pretty nasty but Beau-Jo’s does it well. The crust is both chewy and crispy and the creamy cheese and sun-dried tomatoes perfectly complimented each other. With the tofu as my protein option, the pizza was both tasty and filling. No need to eat within a couple of hours. No need to eat for several hours. My favorite part? I haven’t exhausted my vegan options at Beau-Jo’s! I’m looking forward to going again and trying a completely different pizza. I’m thinking a Wednesday night. Wednesday night is wheat-free night and Beau-Jo’s offers a free trip to the salad bar with any gluten-free food purchase. Pizza and salad. It will be just like old times.