I’m quickly discovering just how nasty the humidity is here in SC. We get humid days in NY, of course, but down here they don’t mess around. It really makes you appreciate the importance of carrying water everywhere, plus makes your body crave something refreshing after a morning spent out in the sun.
Enter The Sprout in Mount Pleasant. Like most places I eat at while on vacation, I discovered this one via Happy Cow, and I liked the sound of it. 100% vegan, fresh juices and smoothies, burgers, raw options, rotating seasonal specials…I couldn’t resist trying it out.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in was that the place smells like fresh juice, with that zip you get after blending up a green smoothie or juice with ginger in it. The second thing I noticed? Foosball table! (See it? So exciting.)
The reason for the juice smell was, no doubt, the abundance of juice and smoothie options on the menu. I’m not usually one to order juices or smoothies at restaurants, even raw food restaurants, but I have to admit it was hard to resist after seeing what The Sprout had to offer. The juice bar menu on the website is only a small sampling of what’s in the cafe itself. All menu items rotate a bit depending on what’s in season and the general availability of ingredients.
Walking around, I quickly discovered that The Sprout isn’t just about eating. They offer classes in things like raw food prep and raw “cheese” making, as well as a wide variety of juice fasts and live food detox programs supported with food and juice from the restaurant. (I’d imagine being located right next to a gym doesn’t hurt!) They also host special events, including vegan dinners.
After a perusal of the menu, I finally decided on The Sprout Burger, a choice of one of two vegan burgers served with greens, tomato, onions, and sprouts with Veganaise or raw cashew cheese. I went with the cashew cheese since Veganaise sort of weirds me out, and chose the “Harvest Burger,” described on the menu as a patty made with ginger, walnuts, portabellas, carrots, bell peppers, tamari, parsley, and jalapeno puree.
My mom went with the same burger, but as part of the Sprout Burrito, which took the burger and mixed it with quinoa, sprouts, and tahini sauce inside either a regular wrap or a seasonal green. Mom went with collard greens-we are, after all, in the south.
Due to the smallish size of the collard leaves, the chef split it into two smaller burritos. Aren’t they cute? The side was fresh lettuce and a tomato wedge with some kind of dressing; it was good, but I’m no entirely sure what was in it. No worries, though, since not only is everything at The Sprout vegan, it’s also organic!
And speaking of things that are cute, how about fresh juice served in a jar? This juice was called Carmen. I wish I’d written down everything that was in it, but I remember apple, ginger, and I think the green was kale. I ordered one 16oz. juice to share with Mom, and it was brought out in two jars, one for each of us.
Everything was delicious. The burger was hearty and had a wonderful texture; I could tell it was made in-house. The cashew cheese was thin like a spread or dressing and had just the lightest hint of cashew flavor. Whatever seasonal greens were on the burger were amazing-crisp and fresh with great flavor. The juice was fresh and spicy, just green enough to taste like “green juice,” and so darn good that I abandoned table manners and stuck my finger in the jar to clean out the bits that were clinging to the sides when I was done drinking it. Mom couldn’t stop talking about how good her burrito and the juice were.
(Other cool stuff of note about Sprout: big cans of coconut water in the cooler case, local raw chocolate bars for sale, and they wholesale some of their food as “grab-n-go” items to the Mount Pleasant Whole Foods.)
When I went up to pay, I met the chef, Micky, more formally. When I told him how much we’d enjoyed our meal, he gave us a free dessert! How awesome is that? It was a sort of gelato/sorbet made with red wine and a variety of berries. Red wine doesn’t agree with me, so I couldn’t eat it, but my mom loved it just as much as everything else we’d had there.
Verdict? Eat at The Sprout! Their prices are a little higher than you’d find at a vegan sandwich shop or something of that ilk, but are comparable to what I’ve seen at other vegan/organic/raw restaurants. For fresh, organic vegan food prepared when you order, with friendly service and a fun atmosphere, it was more than reasonable.
Check out The Sprout in Facebook and, if you’re in the Charleston/Mount Pleasant area, keep an eye out for their special events! Like this Saturday, they’ll be hosting a Mediterranean-themed vegan dinner complete with fattoush, moussaka, braised tempeh, and dessert. It’s hard to go wrong at this place!