Vegetarian shares advice on local dining options

Sara Bennett

Kent State graduate student Andrea Bussinger helps restock items in the Kent Natural Foods Co-Op. Located downtown on Main Street, the Co-Op offers organic and locally grown produce and herbal supplements. ABIGAIL S. FISHER | SUMMER KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

As a vegetarian moving to Kent, I had a difficult time finding healthy vegetarian and organic meal options. Over the years, I have found some. I’ll share a few and my opinions on them.


• Kent Natural Foods Cooperative

The cooperative stocks organic foods and vegetarian specialties. Sanabel’s homemade tabbouleh, hummus and spinach pies are some specialty items that are fresh from Akron.

Sheila Rombach, Kent Natural Foods staff member, said the non-profit store’s philosophy is in line with her values.

Kent Natural Food’s philosophy revolves around providing natural and healthful foods to the community, while developing the community they live in through outreach and information.

“You have to really believe in what you’re doing,” Rombach said.

The store also carries many local and bulk items.

This store is open to anyone who enters, but they offer discounts and special privileges to members and volunteers.

For information, check out the store at 151 E. Main St. or call (330) 673-2878. Its open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Wednesdays until 7 p.m.


There is a decent selection of products, and my budget loves the low-priced bulk items. Also, it’s only a short walk from campus.


The limited hours of operation can be a problem for those like me who are in school from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Giant Eagle

Scattered throughout the store, Giant Eagle offers a large variety of vegetarian and organic selections.

The store offers fresh-baked organic breads and an organic produce section, as well as a large frozen section.

The Giant Eagle Advantage Card is a free way to save cash, as they offer weekly promotions and discounts.

For information, go to the store at 4300 Kent Rd. in Stow or call (330) 686-7829.


It’s open 24 hours, which is great for those who love to shop at 1 a.m.

There are a lot of the vegetarian and organic selections on sale regularly.


Unless you have a car or take the bus, its distance from campus can be a problem.

The prices can be slightly high for products such as produce.

• Acme

Acme has a segregated organic and vegetarian section that offers products such as cereals and jarred goods.

The store has a large section of organic spices. Frozen vegetarian and organic goods, however, are limited.

The Acme Card is free and can help save money when used along with weekly promotions and discounts.

For information, go to the store at 1709 E. Main St. or call (330) 678-1535.


My budget thanks their prices and it’s just short walk away from campus.


Do not expect to find anything exotic there. And it has fnew Morningstar Farm brand and Boca brand products.


• Taco Tontos

Taco Tontos offers a variety of vegetarian food including burritos, tacos, salads and tostadas.

Employee Frances Penney said almost anything on the menu can be made vegetarian, and unlike other burrito places, there are no hidden animal products

“I think there is more variety here, none of which have any animal byproducts,” Penney said.

Penney also said everything is made from scratch at the restaurant.

One local favorite, the sweet potato and black bean burrito, started as one of the restaurant’s specials and eventually became so popular that it became a permanent resident on the menu.

To try a burrito, check out the restaurant at 123 Franklin Ave. or call (330) 677-0223 for carryout.


I love the brightly painted walls and the art and it’s open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.


There is a short wait for burritos because they are baked. During busy spurts, you may have to wait several minutes for a table.

• Main Street Coneys

Main Street Coney’s has many vegetarian options to choose from. Its prices are low, starting at $2.19 for a vegetarian hot dog.

Some interesting choices include soy “chicken” patties, vegetarian chili (on the days the chili maker is in), soy hot dogs and many toppings to choose from.

To try a hot dog, go to the restaurant at 911 E. Main St. or call (330) 678-0800.


It is right across the street from Front Campus and it has low-priced, quickly served food.


It is a tiny place with limited seating and it is only open until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is closed Sunday.

• Pufferbelly Ltd.

Pufferbelly Ltd., located in Kent’s historic main train depot, has a vegetarian friendly menu.

Fine dining prices can be a problem, but for a special occasion, this is the place for vegetarians in Kent to go. They offer vegetarian sandwiches, pasta, salads, soups and appetizers.

One vegetarian summer special is the Gazpacho soup.

For more information, try the restaurant at 152 Franklin Ave. or call (330) 673-1771.


There is lots of seating.

It has a historic atmosphere with interesting memorabilia.


I can only afford to go there on a special occasion.

Contact minority affairs, health and nursing and religion reporter Sara Bennett at [email protected].