Dining and Drink

Meatless Madison: Short Stack Eatery's vegan menu

The breakfast spot offers vegan options

Dining out for breakfast usually conjures images of bacon and eggs and a stack of buttermilk pancakes topped with a pat of butter, all items that are off-limits for vegans following a plant-based diet. But at Short Stack Eatery, where breakfast is served all day, owners Alex Lindenmeyer and Sinead McHugh didn't want vegans to be left out.

Short Stack's online menu leads to a "vegan hack menu" by clicking on the menu's vegan icon. A new menu pops up with options for those looking for a plant-based breakfast meal, including the Vegan Stack. Traditionally made with eggs, milk and butter, Short Stack's vegan pancakes — which are also gluten-free — are made with bananas, coconut oil and almond flour instead. The pancakes are topped with pecans and served with a side of coconut "whipped cream" and house-made applesauce.

Located on West Johnson Street, Short Stack opened in 2014 with the concept of being a place where you could get breakfast anytime of day.

"Everywhere you went it would be like, ‘ooooh, you just missed breakfast, we switched over to the lunch menu,'" Lindenmeyer says. In addition to serving breakfast all day, Lindenmeyer says the goal was to keep it simple.

"When we opened Short Stack we knew we wanted a small, focused menu," Lindenmeyer says. "The bigger the menu, I would argue, the lower the quality because people are trying to do too many things. Do something and do it well."

Short Stack's menu is also divided into savory and sweet, "because this is how people think about breakfast food," Lindenmeyer says. While the vegan stack of pancakes satiates the sweet tooth, Short Stack's savory vegan items include a breakfast burrito with black beans, potatoes and choice of two vegetables or a vegan hash served with a side of mixed greens.

Another savory vegan option — albeit in liquid form — is Short Stack's award-winning bloody mary. With a mix made fresh weekly with 25 ingredients including carrots, celery, beets, tomatoes, shallots, habaneros, jalapeños and vegan Worcestershire sauce (Worcestershire is sometimes made with fish sauce), "it's basically a health drink," Lindenmeyer says. "A lot of people do order it virgin." Although a 26th ingredient — Tito's Vodka — can be added for those adhering to Short Stack's sign declaring "brunch without booze is nothing but a sad, late breakfast."

Another mainstay of Short Stack's menu is the "blind special," when people order a meal for $7 and have no idea what the item will be (if you ask what it is, the meal becomes $11.) "The only question you are allowed to ask is if it's savory or sweet," Lindenmeyer says. "I don't even tell my mother what it's in the blind." The blind special is occasionally vegetarian or vegan and Lindenmeyer says Short Stack will sometimes do a whole month with vegan blind specials. "It sucks that people with dietary restrictions can't participate in that fun thing," she says.


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