This is Part III in a multi-part series I’m calling “Vegan Brunch Throwdown,” in which I review every vegan brunch in Connecticut then pit them head to head in a no-holds-barred, fight to the death over who has the best tofu scram, pancakes, and tempeh bacon. Fun, right? Read Part I and Part II.
Guys! I have not abandoned you. It has been a very busy couple of weeks, what with all the cray-cray snow, Valentine’s Day, and the Ivy League Vegan Conference. I’m wiped! BUT,
never not too wiped to bring you the latest vegan brunch recap. There’s always energy for brunch!
I’ve been intrigued by Fuel Coffee Shop in New Haven for a while, mostly because it doesn’t even have a website. It does have a Facebook page, but I couldn’t find the menu anywhere online which only added to the suspense. Must. discover. the secret. I finally made the pilgrimage to Fuel last weekend, as I had heard it has an epic vegan breakfast menu and the “best coffee in New Haven.” Which is quite a statement. I don’t actually drink coffee so I can’t attest to that second claim, however, for the first claim I present to you Exhibit A:
See all those “v”s? That indicates “vegan options.” It’s like more than half the menu. I almost died.
Fuel is a small, out of the way shop in the Wooster Street area of New Haven, which was kinda hard to find, especially when you’re starving and the GPS is yelling at you that you have “arrived at your destination ” but can’t find a spot to park in all the six foot snowbanks and whatnot. I KNOW I’M HERE GIVE ME A SECOND TO REGROUP!
Inside, it’s your pretty typical little coffee shop except without all the fancy crap, which is how I like my coffee shops. Bare bones, a couple couches, a few newspapers lying around. Done. The interior does have a cool retro vibe which I dug. A few people on Yelp described Fuel as a “hole,” but I’d say this is far from the truth (it’s got some pretty great Yelp reviews, too). I found the shop clean and welcoming, and totes non-judgmental… the other diners were a mixed bag of what looked like a professional, a couple of academics, a 20s-aged hipster-type couple, and me. No, I did not take pictures of the other people! That’s weird.
Unfortunately, I visited Fuel at a not-so-great time (the weekend after the Great Blizzard of 2013), as the counter guy told me they were out of a lot of stuff due to travel/shipment issues, including avocado (noooo!). I ordered the tofu scramble wrap with daiya cheddar, and Counter Guy was super nice and apologetic and offered to sub in veg bacon and spinach for the lack of avocado, and because I was getting their last (slightly small) portion of tofu scramble for the day, to which I said HELL YES. If there’s anything I love almost much as avocado, it’s veg bacon.
Friends, this wrap was so, so good. I don’t know if it was the cheddar/bacon combo, the nicely seasoned tofu scram, or the fresh spinach and tomato. Or all of those things. It was probably all o f those things. But it was delicious. I had to stop myself from wolfing it down at top speed because I think the Fuel guy was kinda watching me take pictures and act all shady and stuff. But I wanted to. The wrap was BIG, really filling and came with a side of tortilla chips that I didn’t eat because I was so full. Deee-lish.
In addition to the awesome food menu, Fuel also offers an extensive coffee and drink menu, with fancy sounding specials like the Peppermint Patty, any of which can be made with soy or almond milk (!), and a vegan soup of the day.
I only got the one wrap because it was just me and I didn’t want to fall asleep from food coma during the conference I was headed too, BUT I will definitely be back to try out the veg burger, BLT, soup, and probably a bagel and cream cheese because HOW OFTEN CAN YOU GET A BAGEL AND VEGAN CREAM CHEESE AT A COFFEE SHOP? The answer is allllmost never.
Fuel would be a great place for a quick, casual brunch, lunch to-go, place to study, etc. I’m also told they occasionally have vegan cupcakes. If and when I am in the New Haven area again, I’ll be back.
But there better be avocado.
516 Chapel Street, New Haven
NOTE: Cash only!