In the past I’ve daydreamed about opening my own vegan restaurant. A restaurant that would serve all of the best comfort foods and junk foods. It would be a place where the food would be so good that you wouldn’t even notice it is vegan. That is when vegan food is done right, when you can’t even tell the difference. Like a dream come true, a place like this already exists in Hamilton Ontario, this place is called The Hearty Hooligan.
The other day I had a concert I was going to attend in St. Catherines Ontario which is only about a 45 minute drive from Buffalo. There is a really good vegan restaurant in St. Catherines called Rise Above and my favorite vegan doughnut shop, Beechwood Doughnuts, is located across the street from that too..BUT even as good as those restaurants are, my love for The Hearty Hooligan is stronger… and since I had some time to kill before the show I decided it would be well worth it to make the extra 30 minute drive up to Hamilton so that I could go to The Hearty Hooligan for dinner.
Sometimes I wonder if this concert traveling lifestyle is more for the concerts or more for the amazing vegan food spots that I have found..It can really be a toss up sometimes.
The Hearty Hooligan serves some of the best vegan comfort food that I’ve ever had! On their menu you will find comfort foods like pizza bagels, pizza pockets, loaded nachos, burritos and even a macaroni and cheese bake. Wash your meal down with a milkshake or get a blizzurd for dessert. Either way you can’t go wrong.
I just can’t get enough of this place and with it being only a little over an hour away from home, The Hearty Hooligan makes for a fun and decently short enough drive to go to not only when there is a concert in the area, but also to go to whenever the mood strikes. The menu has changed slightly from the last time I was there, so this time I decided to order something new. I went with the nacho burrito and I’m so glad that I did. This may be my new favorite item on the menu (although I do highly recommend trying the Anti Warrior Bowl as well).
The nacho burrito comes with crunched up corn chips, housemade tvp based “beef”, tofutti sour cream, housemade sweet chili heat cheeze sauce, cheddar style shreds, jalapenos, green onions and tomatoes. In taking my first couple bites, my taste buds knew that this was everything that I needed. It was absolute perfection! The flavors, the crunch of the chips, the spice of the jalapenos – it was everything that I hoped it would be.
The Hearty Hooligan also has some of the most delicious baked goods known to man. I always get a few things from the bakery case. This time I got a punkaroo cupcake and a rocky road brownie. Everyday they offer some sort of punkaroo baked good. A “punkaroo” baked good is a vegan version of one of my favorite childhood snacks, dunkaroos! If you don’t know what dunkaroos are, they are these really tasty graham cookies that come with frosting that is mixed with rainbow sprinkles. You dunk the cookies into the rainbow speckled frosting, hence the name dunkaroos. These were a staple to my childhood!! When talking to the owner of The Hearty Hooligan, Staicha, she said that when she envisioned opening this cafe, dunkaroos were the one thing that came to mind that she just had to veganize! Clearly we are on the same wavelength.
With all of the traveling I’ve done and all of the vegan places I’ve eaten at, The Hearty Hooligan ranks near the top of my list. I’m all about recreating vegan versions of the comfort foods that I grew up loving and this place serves it all. This place is a must – vegan or non vegan – it is a place that everyone can enjoy!