Tucked between a Chinese restaurant and a hair salon in Horseshoe, NC, lies Garlik Vegan Pizza and Dining, which pushes the boundaries of what the usual North Carolinian is used to eating at lunch. You won’t find burgers and fries or fried chicken and mac ‘n’ cheese on this menu; instead, you’ll find buffalo tempeh, a chik’n sub, or even a pizza with grilled jackfruit.
When you walk into Garlik Vegan Pizza and Dining, you see art painted by local artists and a dessert case displaying cupcakes and slices of cake. This brings you into a very relaxed environment. The music playing is reminiscent of your dad’s music taste and is at a perfect volume to enjoy but still carry a conversation. The restaurant is very clean and gives off a comfortable vibe that makes you feel like you’re eating in your own home.
There was only one server in the restaurant. When she brought the food to all the tables, it was very nice. She kept a conversation going and treated us as if we had known her forever. My only complaint is that it was slow. We ordered two appetizers, a pizza, soup, dessert and a smoothie. The food came out fast with the buffalo tempeh, garlic cashew cheese bread and mushroom and wild rice soup coming out first.
I started off with the buffalo tempeh, which was amazing. The sauce had the perfect amount of spice. Next was the garlic cashew cheese bread. It was creamy and crunchy, and tasted perfect. The only way you could tell the cheese wasn’t real was the lack of cheese stretch. Finally, the end of the appetizers was the wild rice and mushroom soup, which has to be the best I’ve ever had. The rice was delicious and the broth was creamy and perfect. The smoothie was strawberry and it tasted exactly as you would expect a strawberry smoothie to taste. They also used paper straws.
Next came the pizza, which I ordered with grilled jackfruit and canadian bacon with a red sauce and daiya mozzarella cheese. The crust on the pizza was perfect. It had the perfect amount of crunch and was just amazing. The red sauce was sweet, but you could still taste the tomato flavor. It made the crust slightly soggy but still had a slight crunch. The first topping was vegan canadian bacon. This had an amazing smoky flavor and I doubt I could tell the difference in a blind taste test between vegan and normal canadian bacon. The second topping was the grilled jackfruit which gave the pizza an even sweeter taste. It has a texture almost like pineapple, so overall the jackfruit was good. Last is the part that had me most skeptical: the vegan daiya cheese. The cheese being vegan didn’t really affect the taste, it only added a texture that I didn’t like. It made the cheese stick to the roof of my mouth like I had just eaten a spoonful of peanut butter. So, overall, the cheese was a definite no.
The last thing I ordered was a cupcake and it was incredible. It was probably the best cupcake I’ve ever had. It was moist and sweet and the frosting was so good you couldn’t even tell it was vegan.
In general, I would rate the restaurant a 6.5 out of 10. My main complaints are the price and the slow service. The bill ended up being $60 before the tip, which is not cheap by any means. Overall, I had a great experience at Garlik Vegan Pizza and Dining.
By: Max Portugal, Feature Writer