Lately, I’ve been running out of places to try.  I keep thinking I’ve exhausted most of the places to find vegan food, around here.  551 West was one of the places on the “eventually” list.  As we were reminded, again, sometimes the “eventually” places turn out to be real surprises.  Dan, our waiter, was just trying to learn what vegan really means.  He really cared, and wanted to get it right.  He went the extra mile, to make sure our needs were met.  Although the menu is clearly marked, with several :vegetarian” dishes, only one was marked “vegan’.  It was the 551 Vegan Beans and Rice.  Dan came back a couple of times to tell us suggestions that the chef made.  Note that the black bean patty is not vegan.  We started with the chopped salad, minus the bacon, cheese and dressing.  We were provided oil and vinegar.  The salad is a meal, in itself.

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For entrees, we chose the 551 Vegan Beans and Rice and the 551 Vegetarian Chili and Rice, made vegan.  Dan came out to tell us that the chef wasn’t happy with the rice and to ask if an extra 15 minutes was okay.  I love that they have people that care that much about quality, and respect the customer’s time.  It didn’t bother us, in the least, but they were still very apologetic.

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Both were great, but the beans and rice were our favorite.  The owner, Chuck, stopped by to talk to us, for a good bit of time.  He said a new menu is coming and they hope to add even more options.  Either way, we’ll be back.  He’s got all kinds of amazing ideas and genuinely cares for his customers. I’m a fan.