With a name like HipCityVeg, it's easy to suspect that the restaurant is looking to appeal to a vegetarian and vegan audience. But founder Nicole Marquis is thinking even bigger than that.
HipCityVeg has proven to be a gateway of sorts to diners who aren't necessarily vegan or vegetarian, but can be convinced to embrace more plant-based meals after their experience at the restaurant. "Our dishes are classic, American, and familiar," she said. That means items like "chicken" sandwiches, sweet potato fries, and more. She aims for diners to leave satiated, and to convince them that plant-based dining isn't just about salads.
When Marquis opened her first location in Philadelphia, she didn't know how it would be received. "This is the city of Philly cheesesteaks," she said. But there were lines out the door when she opened, and things really haven't slowed down since. In Philadelphia, Marquis and Co. operate several restaurants, including the HipCityVeg mini chain and full-service destinations like Charlie was a Sinner and Bar Bombon (all are plant-based). She was inspired to create her restaurant group after seeing her father get his Type 2 Diabetes under control (including losing 35 pounds) by following a plant-based diet.
The D.C. location can be found at 712 7th Street NW in Penn Quarter. It's about 1,200 square foot in size. "I think I hit the bullseye," Marquis said of the foot traffic-heavy location. Expect the same menu as the other locations. The most popular dishes at HipCityVeg range from a green smoothie to a ranch chicken sandwiches — the D.C. location boasts a banana whip dessert, too. Other HipCityVeg locations in D.C. will likely follow, but no leases have been signed yet. Look for free food from 12-2 p.m. today to celebrate the opening.
HipCityVeg, 712 7th St. NW, website