Who are the best food trucks in Baja Arizona? We asked, and you answered! We’re counting down the four food trucks who received the most votes during our food truck shout out, and today’s profile is of a truck whose success has meant expansion into a brick and mortar location, and a fanbase that just won’t quit–Veg In A Box.
By Becca Goldansky
Being a vegetarian myself, I am always on the prowl for fresh veggie-themed places to eat. Veg In A Box is one of these places. Its vast menu and imaginative ingredients (they even boast zucchini bacon, y’all!) make it appealing to consumers of all dietary backgrounds. Veg in a Box has grown from being a food truck staple in Tucson to a full-blown brick and mortar restaurant with serious ambition. This vegetarian and vegan establishment aims to change the way carnivores and omnivores alike view veggie cuisine. Co-owner Matt Price answered some questions regarding the company’s booming success:
Me: What makes your vegan and vegetarian dishes better than those in other similar restaurants?
Matt: Well there are no other similar restaurants; we focus on taste first, and make sure it meets all our standards after. I think some vegans focus on what they are first and foremost, and then think about the food. We serve awesome food, that happens to be plant based, gluten free, soy free, and non-GMO.
Me: What do consumers gain by eating your food?
Matt: The knowledge that vegan and gluten free can be good; that vegan is not just salads, but burgers, Z.L.Ts (zucchini, lettuce, and tomato) and Vegballs (vegetarian meatballs). It is tasty and fun. So many people are either intimidated by vegan food, or have had bad experiences with it. We change that.
Me: What do you hope to achieve with your restaurant? Is there a goal?
Matt: We want to change the way people think about and eat fast food. We want this concept to grow and make it easy and tasty for people to eat more plant-based. We want to get our burgers sold in stores, as well as our zucchini bacon. We want to make it an easy choice to eat well.
Me: Where do your ingredients come from? Are they local? Why or why not?
Matt: We try to get as much of our ingredients local as we can, but getting ingredients is definitely an area we are working on. Not enough restaurants are demanding accountability from their suppliers, so it is just starting to trickle in. We are finding better suppliers, but it is tough.
Me: How has your company transformed the Tucson food truck scene for both carnivores and vegetarians alike?
Matt: We have shown a lot of omnivores and carnivores that they can enjoy a vegan meal, that a family with one celiac [family member] can still go out and eat together, and not make the celiac feel like they are “weird.” We have shown other trucks that people do want more of this kind of food, and as such have influenced more veggie options on trucks. We are continuing to show people that food is your fuel: get the best fuel you can and get the best results you can. We give families the option to eat together, even if they all need different things.
Veg in a Box is clearly making great strides here in Tucson. The people behind the veggies are not only businessmen, but innovators. The company is filled with ambition, passion, and, of course, vegetables – a winning combination indeed.
by Rachel Wehr
According to one Yelp reviewer, Veg in a Box is “everything that the state of Arizona isn’t.” Veggies abound, with options of filling dishes like hearty soups, sandwiches, sides, and desserts. Every dish I have tried is incredibly flavorful and liberally-spiced. Nothing like the image of plain celery and apples often conjured in my mind when I think of the word “vegan”.
Each dish comes with the choice of one side with options like pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), beet and potato salad, the “trifecta” (beans, rice, and calabacitas) or the famous sweet chile fries.
“Zucchini bacon”, lettuce, and tomato are piled in a toasted gluten-free sourdough. The zucchini bacon may not be dripping in pork fat, but it sure hits the spot. While I myself am a beet aficionado, I would recommend the side of beet and potato salad to all. The combination of veggies makes for a colorful but not overwhelming flavor profile.
Buffalo Cauliflower “Chix” Sandwich
Baked cauliflower is breaded in garbanzo, flax seed and spices then smothered in hot sauce and the signature house sauce. The “not-wings” are topped with lettuce, onion and organic tomato and served on grilled gluten-free sourdough. Pictured as a side is the “trifecta”. This sandwich is the perfect substitute for the buffalo wing lover. This sandwich is now on special, but will hopefully join the permanent menu.
Along with the beet burger, the mushroom burger is one of the best-selling sandwiches at Veg in a Box. A house-made mushroom patty is grilled then topped with tomato, caramelized onion, house sauce, pickles and green on a toasted gluten free bun. Rather than using a whole mushroom cap, chopped mushrooms are spiced and made into a cohesive savory and delicious grilled patty. Toppings include tomato, caramelized onion, house sauce, pickles and greens on a toasted gluten-free bun. We made a classic plate by adding the sweet chili fries, which are crunchy, sweet, and a bit spicy just like their namesake.
Veg in a Box Food Truck is located at 1st Ave. and Limberlost Dr. Thursday through Saturday, and is parked at the Heirloom Farmers Market at Rillito on Sundays. The brick and mortar Veg Box Cafe location at 75 E Pennington St is open Monday through Saturday.