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Chicagoist Salutes National Vegan Month: Victory's Banner

By Jacy Wojcik in Food on Nov 24, 2008 8:25PM

For the past month, Chicagoist has been saluting National Vegan Month with restaurant visits, recipes and photo galleries. One thing we've noticed is the lack of strictly-vegan restaurants in our city. Amitabul, Karyn's Raw Cafe, and Chicago Diner are among the few and proud. But lucky for us, there is a strong showing of vegan-friendly restaurants which are, typically, vegetarian restaurants with vegan offerings.

Sitting in the heart of Roscoe Village, Victory's Banner is a bright, welcoming breakfast and lunch spot. If Easter was a restaurant (Hallmark Easter, not Jesus Easter) this would be it, as pastels, painted birds, and twinkling music fill the small room. Breakfast seems primarily for the lacto-ovo vegetarian with a great amount of egg dishes and cream cheese or sour cream accompaniments. The Breakfast Burrito (tortilla filled with free-range eggs, mushroom, onion, smoked gouda, black beans, sour cream with organic salsa and brown rice on the side) was overshadowed by the "Award-Winning French Toast" complete with peach butter and maple syrup. Stripples soy bacon was no deep fried crazy bacon, but still tasty for being neither pork nor fried. Lunch seems to be more vegan friendly- all burgers and wraps can be made vegan upon request.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the restaurant is the story behind it. Victory's Banner is inspired by Indian spiritual master, Sri Chinmoy, and every employee studies with him. (The restaurant closes two weeks each year for spiritual retreats. Naaace.) Books about both mediation and Sri Chinmoy are on display for purchase and the website reads, "the restaurant is a reflection of the impact Sri Chinmoy has had on our lives, and it is inspired by him. His philosophy encourages a sincere inner life with an active outer life." The bright space, friendly service and positive vibe kind of made us want to give the entire restaurant a hug when we left. We didn't attempt (it was crowded) but we did find ourselves smiling on the way out. It's nice to visit a restaurant in the city with some soul. (Not enough soul to persuade us to buy a Sri Chinmoy book, mind you.)

Victory's Banner will also be offering a vegetarian Thanksgiving menu if you wish to dine at the restaurant or a carry-out menu if you prefer the comfort of your own home. Vegan options also available.

Victory's Banner is at 2100 W. Roscoe (near Roscoe and Damen) and is open from 8am to 3pm everyday day except for Tuesdays, when they are closed all day.