On filling roles for which I didn’t feel ready…

Everyone feels like a novice at some point in their lives. I’ve been a physical therapist for over 23 years, and there are still times that I don’t feel prepared for certain clinical situations. It keeps me humble. But tackling roles outside of my career that push me out of my comfort zone? That’s a whole other situation. 

Although I’d been running for a while and had run a few marathons, when I was approached by the head coach of my marathon training team about becoming a coach myself, I was uncertain I was really who they wanted. I was having major imposter syndrome! But I grew into this role, and now I’m in my fourth year coaching. I love it! Mentoring new marathoners and watching them accomplish their goals is really one of the best things ever!

With some of my fellow Pink Nation coaches at the beginning of this training season.

Last fall, I was approached by the president of our local run club about running for the board of the club. I was flattered. Seemed like an easy enough role. At that point, I’d been published a couple of times in their quarterly magazine, Miles and Minutes. This served as my volunteer work which was a precursor to qualify for this role. 

Well, this evolved into asking me to fill an even larger role: Vice President of Marketing. This is something that seemed way beyond my expertise. I would be responsible for promoting our races and organization as a whole, for obtaining and coordinating sponsorships, creating and ordering merchandise for our online store, and overseeing social media. This task seemed daunting. It took a bit of convincing by the new officer team, but I finally agreed to fill this role. 

Even with this trepidation, I have slowly grown accustomed to this role. I’ve become much better at writing press releases, learning that if you include a map of the course and a great photo, your chances of ending up on the news improve greatly. I worked with Boco Gear to create some pretty fabulous visors for our club! I’m helping to facilitate a relationship with one of our local running stores. I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with coordinating sponsorships, even re-establishing relationships that declined during the pandemic when races were canceled and everything seemed lean. 

The second issue of Miles and Minutes in which I was published.

I recently  learned that I was nominated to my county’s Community Equity Advisory Board, which makes recommendations to our school board about making our schools safe and fair for all children. I’m pretty excited about this. Considering the recent religious conservative appointment to our school board, another recent scandal involving the use of a logo that appeared to look like a swastika (I’m not even kidding), and a terrible proposed bathroom policy for transgender students, I’m looking forward to serving my county in this capacity. However, the conservative board members have proposed to dissolve this committee altogether, despite all of the recent issues in our school leadership. The fate of the board is yet to be determined. 

Another role I’m taking on? Public speaker. I was approached by the organizers of the Richmond VegFest to see if I’d be interested in speaking at the festival this year! Never in a million years did I think that anyone would be interested in what I have to say. But I’m honored. So if you are in the RVA on September 17th, stop by the festival! I’m still contemplating the content of my speech, but will definitely discuss how I evolved to a vegan. Even if you don’t visit the festival to see me, you should come and celebrate the Richmond veggie community, eat some great food, and shop for locally made goods! It will be a blast! 

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Have you been asked to step out of your comfort zone and into leadership roles in your life? Did you feel prepared? I’d love to hear about it!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Trying to Recover

My Covid chronicles continue. I did test negative last Tuesday, one day after I last blogged about my illness. My first venture out of the house was Wednesday, where I went on a grand adventure to the grocery store. I came home, put away the perishables, and promptly took a nap. Taking a shower without having to sit and rest is another milestone in the past week. 

Since I was cleared to return to work, I did so, but sticking to half days. I worked Thursday and Saturday. Grateful for colleagues who understand the challenges of returning after Covid. 

And since I trudged through work, I really wanted to try to run. After two and a half weeks of not running, with my last runs 7 and 5 miles, taking on 10 miles yesterday induced a bit of anxiety. I took off with the back of the packers and was determined to make it through the most interesting part of a new route for my marathon training team: a greenway we haven’t explored before. It was worth the effort. Such a pretty route! 

I made it 6 miles running 3:1 intervals, and then walked another mile. I became the coached yesterday, with many of my teammates staying with me and helping me make the smart decision to cut the run. I caught a ride back to the stadium. In different circumstances, I may have taken another week off.

On the Cannon Creek Greenway Sunday.

Obviously, endurance remains an issue, both physically and mentally. I still run a temp of at least 99 at some point during the day. I fatigue so quickly. Sometimes, I also feel like I’m in a lucid state, especially when driving. One of my colleagues described it like being in a video game. That’s pretty accurate. And concentrating on documentation at work was interesting. Technical writing is nothing like blog writing, and I get distracted easily. I still can’t concentrate on reading a book. 

I have yet to decide if I’m running the Ashland Half Marathon on Saturday. I’ll see how the week goes. I might try another short run this week. I’ve run so many half marathons, I’m not worried about if I can run the distance. I’m more concerned about how easily my body will recover if I do. I know it will be slow, though. The weather isn’t looking terrible, with temps starting in the upper 60’s, highs in the low 80’s, and with a 50% chance of rain. At least I know it will be cloudy!

Truly, though, I just want my life back. I’m not one to sit and do nothing. And as “mild” as they say the new variant is, it’s still not insignificant or easy to recover from. Even double vaxxed and boosted. I may just wear a mask forever. 

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Are you recovering from Covid? I’d love to hear about how you are doing. 

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

To the First Time Marathoner:

Taking on this milestone race distance can be intimidating. But I’m here to tell you, every marathoner has been there, asking the question, “Can I actually do this?”

When did I finally feel like I would be able to run a marathon? Well, it didn’t happen overnight. 

My journey toward the marathon started with the nudging of friends. All good shenanigans do, as you likely know. My best friend, of course, was the instigator of this quest for me. Even when I didn’t believe I could do it, she did. 

With Patty last year after the Freight Train 50k. Yet another crazy goal she convinced me to take on!

Her first goal was to convince me to sign up for a half marathon. She was subtly persistent, but she had help. I clearly remember before one of the group runs with my 8k training team in the fall of 2013, one of my coaches told the entire team that I would run a half marathon the next year. “She doesn’t know it yet, but she will!,” Coach Tammy told me. I was dumbfounded. And then Patty finally coaxed me into signing up for the Shamrock Half Marathon in March of 2014. 

In preparation for that, we also ran the Richmond Road Runner’s Club Frostbite 15k in February of 2014. That was the furthest I had run at that point. It was also the first time I’ve ever experienced a post-race panic attack! I think it was just that huge adrenaline release once I crossed the finish line and realized I was safe, as strange as that may sound. 

We did go on to run the Shamrock Half Marathon. I did better than I thought! I ran the entire race with no walking breaks. That was the beginning of the spark of hope that I may, perhaps, be capable of running the marathon. 

During the Shamrock Half Marathon in 2014.

So there I was, one day in early June of 2014, showing up for the first group run of the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team, petrified, and with major marathoner imposter syndrome. I cautiously handed the employee my credit card to register, feeling that slight pit in my stomach of what surely would be regret, a touch of nausea, and a sense of panic about the journey on which I was about to embark.

I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by the more experienced runners. I was in awe of those who have done this multiple times, as I was already convinced that this would be a one and done event for me. Did I even look like a real runner? But my subteam, which catered to novice marathoners, was so welcoming and accommodating. They educated me about so many issues faced by marathoners, like proper clothing, hydration, nutrition, and shoes. And if I wasn’t running with my Saturday team, I was running on Sunday with the team that would eventually adopt me: the Pink Nation. 

I continued to swirl in the moments of doubt, the thoughts that I couldn’t achieve this goal. At times, my running rhythm mocked me; my footsteps seemed to jeeringly say, “Nanny, nanny, boo boo!” It was, admittedly, difficult to shut down. But as I continued on this journey, there was a day in particular that my subconscious mantra changed. 

It was during a run from the Anthem headquarters with the marathon training team. (We had to run from here a couple of weeks out of the year at one point because of the then Redskins training camp in Richmond.) It was as I was in the 15th mile of a 16 mile training run, delirious from all of that time and effort on my feet, when suddenly, I heard a Mariachi band singing, “You can do it!” This was the new way my brain heard my running rhythm. (I can’t explain the craziness of long run mentality. If you know, you know!) I finished that last mile with a bit of hope that I would succeed, and I never heard my feet mock me again. 

Instead, with each week, each new distance PR I set, I began to believe that I could actually reach my goal of completing a marathon. It didn’t change the fact that my mom thought I might die, but in my mind, I felt that if my fellow teammates had done this, so could I. They were living proof that this was an achievable goal. I crossed the finish line with my friend Sarah, holding hands and both of us in tears.

With Sarah after the Richmond Marathon in 2014.

There would be other delirious revelations over the course of my many years of running, but the moment my mantra changed stuck with me. The words I repeat to myself continue to evolve. But overwhelmingly, when I am met with the challenge in the moment, I simply tell myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other, run the mile I’m in, and remind myself that I’ve done this before. 

You, too, the new marathoner, will reach this point, and your life will never be the same! That moment that you cross that finish line for the first time will be a defining one in your life, making all of the hard work worth it. But the journey truly begins with adopting the mindset that you actually can achieve the marathon distance. Don’t be afraid to visualize the finish line of your race, the sounds of the crowd, the announcer calling your name, the volunteer placing that medal around your neck. You can do this!

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My favorite place to coach the Richmond Marathon is on that last stretch of Grace Street, right before the runners make the turn to the downhill finish on 5th St. to Brown’s Island. That’s when first timers realize they will become marathoners! It’s magical.

If you are training for a fall marathon, the schedule is about to get spicy. But stay the course, run the miles, take in this experience. You will never have another first marathon.

As always, I hope you are safe and healthy.

Staycation

Last year during my vacation at the beach, I wrote an essay that was a commentary about our capitalistic society and how it makes us feel guilty for taking time off; as if none of us deserve it and being unproductive is shameful. At least, this is how I’ve always been made to feel. 

I’m pretty sure karma decided to pay me back for that commentary this year. Instead of my scheduled beach trip, I got Covid. So instead of the family going to the beach with my in-laws, we all stayed home. 

I wish I could say that after more than a week of having a fever, I was feeling better. I’ve seen some improvement, but overall, this is going to be a long road. Curiously, I’ve been bradycardic. Most of the patients I have seen with Covid have the opposite problem. My heart rate is typically low anyway, but not in the 40’s as it is now. I’m sure that’s contributing to my low energy. I’ve had the added bonus of being in a part of the minority of those with Covid who have daily episodes of hives with this. And things taste weird. For example, ketchup tastes like potpourri.  I’m double vaxxed and boosted, so I can’t imagine how bad this would have been without that bit of defense. Luckily, my older daughter had just recovered from it, quarantining with a friend who also had it, and the rest of my family were fine. I’m just mad that I didn’t get to go anywhere this summer. 

So, did I accomplish anything during my forced staycation, mostly confined to my bedroom?

Well, for starters, it seems that a neighborhood feral cat has adopted us. Any time I have spent outdoors sitting on the porch, I was greeted by this fellow. He’s an orange tabby that my kids have named Chicken Nugget. One thing I know for sure, cats choose people. He now has a bed and food. My husband seemingly has ultimate veto power and is resisting making this fur baby an official part of the family. Our dog, Ellie, is extremely curious. They have even spent time together on the porch, mostly peacefully. 

He’s trying so hard to adopt us. This is Chicken Nugget.

I have also successfully viewed the entire season of Parks and Recreation. I never got into this show when it aired on TV. But someone recently told me that it’s one of those shows that starts off kind of slow. The first season was not its best. But once you got into subsequent seasons, it got so much better!

Leslie Knope has to be one of the most inspiring sitcom characters ever. Her dedication to public service and eternal optimistic idealism are things to be admired. One of my favorite quotes:

“Now go find your team. Get to work. Whatever that work is that you find worth doing. Do it, and find some people to love who’ll do it with you.”

Leslie Knope

Mostly, I’ve just been lonely. For sure, I’m an introvert. But there’s only so much TV one can stream while isolating in one room. I tried to read a book, but couldn’t concentrate on it. I didn’t even get to run with my team this week. Although there’s no way I could run 12 miles right now, which was what was scheduled, I sure do miss my team. 

The longer I feel bad, the more I see my fall running goals evaporate. I’m supposed to run a half marathon in 2 weeks. I have 3.5 hours to do it. I have to remind myself that I had what was most likely Covid 2 years ago and was way sicker. I still managed to run a marathon that fall. So I have a sliver of hope. 

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Lead photo is a view of the marsh as seen on a run last year at Cherry Grove Beach, SC.

It’s a rainy day here in Virginia. Matches my mood. If you’ve had the latest Omicron variant, let me know how you are doing. Although this definitely isn’t the sickest I’ve ever been, the duration of the symptoms is what is bothering me. 

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Oh, my. The news.

It’s a bit overwhelming right now. 

Between the sudden escalation in the investigation into our former president and my own county making the news for continued discriminatory practices, there’s been not a dull moment. 

I have lots to say about all of it, but I will try my best to leave my judgment out of it, and I’ll let you decide. Just follow the links.

First, our local NAACP president wrote a letter to our board of supervisors asking them to reconsider their recent appointment to the school board. This newly minted school board member took great offense to this statement. Made the news. 

Next, our professional development seminar for teachers leading into this new school year designed a logo that to some, resembled a swastika. This was printed on t-shirts, and images were posted to social media. After swift backlash from the community ensued, our superintendent quickly issued an apology, blaming the incident on the teacher who created the design. No plan to investigate the matter further has been announced. This made national news. 

Lastly, our school board has been working with faith based organization the Alliance Defending Freedom on developing an answer to Virginia state guidelines in addressing transgender rights. The proposal will require transgender students to apply to use the bathroom of their gender identity. The application includes a criminal background check. After all materials have been submitted, the school board will meet, discuss, and decide on a case by case basis. Made the local news. 

All of this negative press distracts from all of the good that actually happens in our county schools. Hanover is full of hard working, talented, and caring teachers and administrators who really do want the best for our kids. My own children have benefited from a solid education in this system. Our educators are the real heroes in this story. I just wish more resources were being devoted to education than to defending discriminatory policies. It’s what our students and teachers deserve.

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We’ll see what happens with all of this. Still not convinced that justice will prevail right now, but I have to have a sliver of hope. 

For the record, I stand behind our NAACP president and the work of the Hanover NAACP, I gasped out loud when I saw the logo, I believe firmly in the separation of church and state as outlined in the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and disagree with the proposed transgender student policy. Hanover County needs a diversity director, and our stunning frequency in making the news for discriminatory practices is proof.

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Bruster’s Ice Cream: Vegan Restaurant Review

I scream, you scream, we all scream for… Did someone say vegan ice cream? 

As a kid, my brother and I would always look forward to our occasional trips to High’s Ice Cream, our neighborhood ice cream parlor back in the 80’s. I still remember the way it smelled, the twirling bar stools, and the pink bubble gum ice cream I would always order. 

When my husband and I started raising our own family, our local place became Bruster’s. Bruster’s has over 200 locations in 22 states, with 6 in the Richmond metro area. They even offer a special pup cup with vanilla ice cream and a doggie bone for your four legged family members!

Going vegan meant the end of these trips for me. One of the most isolating feelings as a vegan is not being able to enjoy a trip to the local ice cream shop with your omnivorous family for a cool treat on a warm summer’s day. Eating sorbet or a coconut milk based non-dairy treat just doesn’t cut it some days. You just simply want something that tastes more like you remember as a kid, and in flavors that are more creative than plain chocolate or vanilla. 

Thankfully, Bruster’s has now answered this call! I happened to be running errands near the Robious Road location a few weeks ago, and I decided to stop in for a visit. They have a very active Instagram page and have been enticing me to visit with their multiple, new vegan flavors, all made with oat milk! Although this visit, the flavor choices weren’t their most interesting, they did have 4 options: vanilla, chocolate, banana, and coffee. I got a scoop of chocolate and coffee.

Upon first bite, I couldn’t believe this was vegan ice cream! It was so very creamy and delicious! I told the young man who helped me with my order that I had come to their store solely because their social media campaign was so compelling. He actually apologized for not having one of their more original vegan flavors available that day. (They have 14 on rotation, with at least 4 flavors available each day!) I lamented that my most recent visit to the location closest to me did not have any oat milk based varieties that time. 

Two scoops of vegan ice cream: Coffee on top of chocolate!

However, it seems my local Staples Mill store is beginning to catch on! I went there with my daughters the week after visiting the Robious location, and they had 2 vegan flavors on the menu. With a choice between chocolate and chocolate chip, I chose the chocolate chip. I enjoyed this just as much as the coffee and chocolate combo! The girl who helped me said they are now going to try to have 2 vegan flavors each day. I’m so grateful! Because the Robious Road location is about 40 minutes from my house!

So, vegan friends, if you have a craving for old fashioned ice cream, look no further than Bruster’s. Their vegan varieties are so delicious, so rich and creamy, it will make you tear up with joy! And, no, I’m not kidding. I will definitely be back!

Chocolate chip!

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Do you miss real ice cream as a vegan? I forgot how good it is! Sure, I can get pints of store bought non-dairy ice cream at my local grocery, but there’s something special about going to the local ice cream shop! Thank you, Bruster’s, for offering vegan flavors!

Lead photo is from my last trip to Bruster’s. That’s coffee chocolate chip oat milk ice cream!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Jumping for Better Running

If you’ve been running for a while, hopefully you’ve learned that cross-training and strength training complement your running workouts and decrease your likelihood of injury. Another great group of exercises to add to your repertoire of activities is plyometrics. 

What are plyometrics, you ask? The goal of these fast, power moves are to:

  • Incorporate fast twitch muscle fibers
  • Improve coordination
  • Improve efficiency with turnover and cadence
  • Improve stability
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness

There are multiple power moves you can incorporate into your strength training days, including jump squats, jump lunges, box jumps, and burpees, but a more familiar plyometric activity that might even take you back to your elementary school days is simply jumping rope! (Any other 80’s kids remember Jump Rope for Heart?) 

Jumping rope takes a small amount of space, is a highly effective cardio workout, improves endurance, and definitely works on that quick turnover we need to improve our speed with running. When jumping rope, your body recruits your calves, quads, and glutes primarily, but you also need your core to be stable to maintain an upright posture and utilize your arms to turn the rope. It’s a full body workout!

If you’re not used to jumping rope, it may take a bit of practice to feel comfortable coordinating the movement. Not only that, but it may surprise you by how taxing this activity is on your cardiopulmonary system. It can be humbling, for sure!

During my CrossFit days, I became reacquainted with jumping rope, even learning how to do double unders! I never got great at these, but at least I could do them! I finally ordered myself a custom jump rope from Double Under Wonder, and I love it! This was a beginning of the pandemic purchase that I have never regretted, and a perfect accessory for my home gym. I chose all pink (go figure!) with plastic handles, and it’s sized for my height, removing much of the frustration from jumping rope! 

Jumping rope in my garage gym.

I currently add single unders to every cross training workout. I started the month of June doing my own fitness challenge of 100 single unders a day, and that lasted a couple of weeks. It only took a couple of minutes out of my day, and once I did this, I was more likely to find the motivation to work on something else in my home gym. 

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your cross training workouts, add some plyometrics! Jumping rope is a great place to start. 

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If you’re training for a fall marathon, you have likely reached the point that you are running double digits for your long runs. You should already be in maintenance mode for your strength training! Adding plyometrics can be a safer way to add a new challenge to these workouts. 

If you are interested in checking out Double Under Wonder jump ropes, I have a discount code for you! Use code ANNETHEVEGAN.

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Baba Ganoush Mediterranean Grill: Vegan Restaurant Review

On the agenda this summer are multiple tours of Virginia universities as my younger daughter contemplates her choices entering her senior year of high school. This week, we decided to tour the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. 

As is customary when touring a college, you must sample the cuisine of a local restaurant! A quick Google search of “vegan friendly restaurants near University of Mary Washington” resulted in several choices, but none as appealing as Baba Ganoush Mediterranean Grill. Google said it was ½ mile from campus, but it was literally right across the street on route 1. 

Inside the restaurant

Walking up to the restaurant, we noted the outdoor seating, and were greeted by an eclectic decor inside featuring beautiful lighting. The staff were super friendly, and even shared samples of the day’s special: an eggplant dish that happened to be vegan. Although delicious, I had my heart set on the falafel! This restaurant serves 2 versions: Egyptian and traditional. I opted for traditional. 

The falafel bowl

Falafel can be served as a wrap, plate, or bowl, and I chose the bowl. I had already explained to the person helping us that I was vegan, and as always, I was a bit worried that my meal would arrive at the table with something I couldn’t have. But I had no need to worry! My bowl arrived with a bed of rice, which was wonderfully sticky and seasoned with cumin, 4 traditional falafel balls, a side of salad, and two different tahini based sauces. He also included a sample of house made hummus and a piece of Egyptian falafel! At $8.95, this meal was a steal. I couldn’t even finish it all. Everything was super fresh and absolutely delicious!

You may be wondering what the difference is between traditional and Egyptian falafel. I did, too. They explained that traditional falafel is made from chickpeas, while Egyptian falafel is made from fava beans and has sesame seeds, too. Both were yummy!

Traditional falafel

Although I didn’t ask if any other menu items are vegan, they do also have vegetable Korma, Sagg, and Biryani on the menu. I may have to try one of these dishes next time, along with their dolmas. My daughter really enjoyed Mary Washington, so I’m anticipating another trip there in the near future as she finalizes her choice of schools. Hopefully I will get my chance to try something new! 

If you happen to be traveling on I95 and are driving through Fredericksburg, you should definitely stop here for a meal. The food is outstanding, the service is super friendly, and the value is very good. We mentioned our dining experience with the reps in the admissions office at UMW, and they offered their eager approval! It’s a favorite of theirs, too. I will definitely be back!

Lighting inside the restaurant

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I love finding new places to eat, especially while traveling. This restaurant is definitely worth visiting!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

All Creatures Great and Small

Sunday morning after my 10 mile run, I hung out with my fellow coaches for a bit, which is customary for us. I kept being bothered by a fly. I’m sure my stench after the effort of those hot and humid miles was irresistible to him.  

But when I got to my car to drive home, I didn’t expect that he would follow me in! Not only that, but he wouldn’t leave through the cracked open window. He made it all the way home with me. Naturally, when I opened the door again, he followed me out. 

Now I’m wondering if he feels happy or sad about his trip? He’s like, what, 15 miles from home? Did he have friends, family, etc. there? And then, as annoying as he was the whole ride home, I started to feel sorry for the guy. Or perhaps this is exactly what he wanted: a great escape.

The other weekend, I was in the bathroom at the stadium before our team’s group run, and I noticed a lightning bug was lost! I easily convinced her to climb onto my hand, and I took her outside. She hung out for longer than I thought she would, but I eventually convinced her to find a new resting spot on a fence. She was simply in the wrong place. 

I now do this for spiders, too. No longer something to fear, especially if it’s not a poisonous variety, I’m the girl who takes the sheet of paper and cup, gently scoops up the critter, and lets him free outside. 

I’ve evolved into one of those vegans who rescues bugs. How did I get here? 

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The longer I’m vegan, the more I realize the value of all living things. A biologist at heart, I know that even the smallest insect has its place in the universe. 

The lead photo for this piece is the actual lightning bug I rescued from the bathroom before our group run!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Hurley’s Tavern: Vegan Restaurant Review

This unassuming pub is nestled in a strip mall in Innsbrook on the West End of Henrico. I first heard about it on the RVA Vegans Facebook page, so I decided I needed to check it out at some point. Last weekend, my daughter wanted to go out for lunch, so we hit up Hurley’s for some vegan and omni-friendly cuisine!

The tavern itself is a little disheveled right now. It’s undergoing a bit of a makeover. But for vegans, this is very, very good news. They are adding a separate vegan kitchen and an all vegan to-go shop in the front of the restaurant! They currently have a separate fryer and cookware for their vegan menu items in their main kitchen. 

The menu at Hurley’s Tavern

The staff today were so helpful, and they were very excited that we were there to specifically try some vegan eats! I would describe their meal options as classy bar food. There are several vegan options on the menu, most based on Beyond burger products or their house made vegan black bean patties. I opted to try their fried green tomatillos, which were served with a spicy remoulade sauce, and the black bean burger wrap, which came with house made chips. All vegan! The tomatillos and the house made chips themselves were a good enough reason to visit! The black bean patty was also very good. Past daily specials have included homemade seitan “chicken” nuggets, which received rave reviews in the RVA Vegans Facebook group. 

Fried green tomatillos

Since they are a tavern, Hurley’s also has a wide variety of adult beverages on tap and drink specials. Saturday’s drink special was $4 bloody Mary’s and mimosas! I was good and stuck to water. (This Sunday was the first double digit run of marathon training season, with high heat and humidity forecast. I had good reason to behave!)

All in all, dining at Hurley’s was a great experience. The staff were nice and knowledgeable about their menu and cooking methods, the decor has character, and the food was excellent. There are multiple options to make both vegans and omnivores happy. I will definitely be back, and I’m super excited for the new vegan market! If you are ever in the Short Pump or Innsbrook area in the RVA, you should absolutely give this place a try!

Black bean patty wrap with house made chips

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It’s always unexpected and fun to discover a new vegan friendly restaurant so close to home, and especially one that is locally owned. I especially love the care that Hurley’s takes to ensure that there is limited cross-contamination with non-vegan items in their kitchen. I’m so glad I heard about them on Facebook! I’ll definitely be back.

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.