Smile Politely

Enjoy black bean burgers and more at Dancing Dog Eatery

I’ll admit I’m a bit out of my element on this review. Not that I haven’t enjoyed a lot of vegan and vegetarian dishes — I am far from an expert — but I do know what I like and what tastes good. Every time I eat an amazing vegan or vegetarian meal, I think to myself I could absolutely do this 100%. Then bacon finds a way to jump into my cart. I admire vegans and vegetarians, though.

If you find yourself wanting an amazing vegan meal, make your way to The Dancing Dog Eatery and Juicery in Downtown Urbana. It is an excellent restaurant that happens to be vegan.

In Downtown Urbana, the author stands in the street to take a photo of Dancing Dog's exterior behind the Curbanas out front. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

The Dancing Dog is much roomier and more comfortable than it appears from the outside. The tables are spaced out nicely, and the chairs are comfy. You can also sit outside if you choose.

Inside Dancing Dog, there are several tables empty, and a server turned to the left. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

Sometimes they do provide table service, but today we ordered at the counter and had the food brought to us. They have self-serve water available, which the control freak in me loves because I hate running out of water during a meal and being dependent on someone else to bring it to me. I can feed myself and pour my own water; it’s how I roll. Let’s get to the food.

In a plastic container, there is a slice of cake with vanilla frosting. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

We decided to eat dessert first (I have more years behind me than ahead of me). We had the special cake of the day ($5.50) which was blueberry lemon. This cake had a wonderful blueberry and lemon flavor, and it was dense and moist. The frosting was generous and tasty. I tasted a pleasant surprise of a spiced cake flavor which went well with the freshness of the blueberry lemon. The slice was plenty generous for two people to share.

In a red basket with a parchment paper lining, there is a cup of hummus and various veggies and fried pita chips to dip. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

Next up was a hummus plate ($6.50). This included deep fried pita chips, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, and (of course) hummus. The star of this plate was the pita chips. Not only were they nice and crisp, but they were also wonderfully seasoned which really set them apart from any other pita chip I’ve ever had. The vegetables were fresh and crunchy, including the thinly sliced cucumbers. The hummus had great texture and a wonderful garlic flavor.

In a red plastic container lined with white parchment paper, there is a black bean burger with fries. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

I love black bean burgers, so I had to order the black cat burger ($11.00), fries included! This burger comes with tomato, lettuce, pickles, and avocados. Served on a wonderful bun and with house made ketchup on the side, the burger itself had great flavor and texture, and it went well with all the fixings. The burger to bun ratio was perfect, and this black bean burger eats like a burger and doesn’t fall apart like some other black bean burgers I have had. The avocados and tomatoes were fresh and tasty. The fries were perfectly fried and seasoned; and despite a generous serving, I cleaned them all up.

In a red basket lined with parchment paper, a black bean burger topped with sliced mushrooms sits beside a lot of fries. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

My wife had The Shroom ($11.00 fries included), and I had SIU-Carbondale 80s flashbacks. This was a wonderful black bean burger smothered with mushrooms and cheese crumbles. A nice hearty flavor with a little bit of heat, the taste reminded me of mushroom explosion soup which I absolutely loved. The mushrooms were sautéed, which really intensifies their flavor. Their house made ketchup is very good and is great with both the fries and burgers.

There is a bright blue counter in front of a brick wall with large letters reading

Photo by Carl Busch.

Another fun aspect of Dancing Dog is their menu changes weekly, so there is an opportunity for variety. We are truly lucky to have such a high-quality restaurant in Downtown Urbana that just happens to be vegan. I look forward to many more visits, including trying their deep-dish pizza.  It looks fantastic. 

The Dancing Dog Eatery & Juicery
126 W Main St.
T-Th 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
F 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. + 5 to 8 p.m.
Sa noon to 3 p.m. + 5 to 7 p.m.

Top image by Carl Busch.

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