May 19, 2022

go health

health-conscious eating in Washington, NC ::

This article was written by our sponsor, Washington Tourism Development Authority.

The new year is here, and you’re determined to stick to your New Year’s resolutions for a healthier, better you! Here is a quick guide to healthy eating in Washington.

Maybe you’re thinking of going vegan, or vegetarian, but you’re not sure what the difference is or what these even mean. According to the Oxford dictionary, a vegan “does not eat or use animal products, (including eggs and dairy),” and a vegetarian “does not eat meat or fish.”

Maybe you just want to start eating a bit on the lighter side, or you have an allergy to gluten. Many Washington restaurants have different options on their menus, and a lot of them will cater to your specific dietary needs.

The Mulberry House Brewery, located at 189 W Main Street, is a great example. Co-owner Reem Darar said the restaurant offers many vegetarian options on the menu, and can be tailored to vegans very easily.

“We have vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free items,” Darar said. “We make our own gluten-free bread and pastries here. We have gluten-free rolls for our sandwiches during lunch, and we have several dishes on our dinner menu that are gluten-free as well. We are working on vegan items in our bakery case. We want to make sure they are vegan and delicious.”

Darar, whose background is in naturopathic medicine, knows even if someone does not have specific dietary needs, they want to ensure what they’re eating is natural and fresh.

“We really go beyond that. Even if you don’t have a special diet, you are going to be eating healthy here because everything here is made from scratch,” she said. “Our pasta is made here from organic N.C. flour, all of our sauces and condiments are made here. We make our own mayonnaise in-house. We get our fish fresh and clean it here. We are very strict with freshness and how we incorporate that into our food.”

Darar said the restaurant is happy to make changes to any dish for those with special dietary needs and hopes that people will really taste the fresh quality of their cuisine.

Down on Mainstreet, which sits at 107 W Main Street, is another establishment that offers something for those with healthy requests. Owner Glenn Weatherington said the restaurant had had a ‘lighter side’ section on their menu for years.

“It gives people an alternative to just a regular salad, which is what most places have. It’s also about portion control,” Weatherington said. “It really is just lighter selections of our menu.”

The section includes grilled shrimp or salmon served with steamed rice, a side salad and your choice of fat-free dressing; and the shrimp, salmon or hamburger lettuce wrap served with a special slaw.

Weatherington said the restaurant tries to adhere to any special requests that it receives.

“We try to offer some gluten-free products as well. We can do just about anything,” he said. “We have run into a lot of customers who have food allergies over the years, so we are super conscious of proper food handling procedures. We try to accommodate the customers as best we can, without a doubt. People can order off the lighter side menu, or you can kind of build your own. We can do a lot of different things.”

Weatherington said the lighter section of the menu came about because his wife and daughter are very health conscious.

“Me? Not so much. I like to drink beer and eat chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes at the same time,” he joked.

Carryout by Chrislyn, located just outside of downtown at 128 E 2nd Street, is an excellent choice if you have special dietary needs. While they don’t have a dining area, they do take out, catering, and custom picnic baskets and trays.

“We really specialize in dietary adjustments,” owner Chrislyn Beresheim said. “If you’re gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian. Because we cook our food from a raw state like our grandmothers did it, we know all of the ingredients in the products that we make. It’s how it should be.”

She continued, “There are no preservatives, no nitrates. For one of our vegan customers, we recently did a barbecued jackfruit over vegetables. We love doing it. We get excited about what we can make for people. We call it the chef’s playground; we love what we do here.”

Beresheim is a big believer in no food should sit in a fridge for days.

“Our whole philosophy behind this business is we make it today; you get it today. We fresh-cut our vegetables. We don’t bring in precut or frozen vegetables. When cut veggies sit in the fridge for a few days, they lose some of their nutritional value. Nobody wants that,” Beresheim said. “Our motto is ‘We make it today; we serve it today.’ Everything is made from scratch in house. There’s a revolution today of people asking for food that is really cooked from scratch, that’s all natural, and people appreciate the difference.”

Another great option for healthy eating in Washington is Locovore Kitchen, located at 1249 Highland Drive. Having undergone renovations in December 2021, Locovore Kitchen (& Farm) grows many of its own vegetables, and sells salads, meals and other produce.

Owner Angela De Cuzzi said the restaurant tries to bring local goodness to the folks in Washington.

“Our farm is small and intense; we sell our products at the cafe, as well as at the Harbor District Market. We sell family and individual meals, and we always provide a vegetarian option,” De Cuzzi said. “Some of our most popular meals are the shepherd’s pie and our stuffed winter squash. The produce that we don’t grow, we get from other local farms. So we know everything is as fresh as it can be.”

De Cuzzi’s husband teaches horticulture at a local school, so farming and fresh produce is a way of life for Locovore.

Many of the restaurants in Washington are happy to adjust menu items to suit your needs; just ask. The growing selection of special dishes for different culinary lifestyles is reflective of more mindful and health-conscious diners. Washington’s restaurants are keeping up with that discerning trend.

For a complete restaurant listing, visit

This article was written by our sponsor, Washington Tourism Development Authority.