Hungry are you? Have a taste for a T-bone steak? Or how about some Chicken Parmesan? It all sounds tasty, but have you ever considered meatless food? I know, I know! But before you send me to the gauntlet, hear me out! I’m an avid meat eater, but there are times when I feel weighed down by the pounds of meat I take in every day (okay, I’m exaggerating, but still). When those days roll around, I look for a meatless alternative that will still taste great and leave me feeling healthy and full. And after years of searching, I found that alternative right in my hometown of St. Louis at Eternity Vegetarian Deli & Juice Bar.
Situated on the south end of St. Louis’ distinguished Central West End, Eternity Deli is nestled – almost hidden – in a cove-like setting requiring entry through one of two basement-bound stairwells, found on either side of the establishment. But don’t be deterred by the fact that you’re heading below ground level to eat. There is definitely an abundance of sunlight, energy, and life encased in these walls. Not only do the two side entrances have windows, emanating the sunlight from one story up, but the wall facing the street has a huge line of windows opening guests’ eyes to passing cars and people (from the waist down) as they venture on their journey to somewhere. In addition, there are two sets of wall-lined mirrors on either sided of the deli, reflecting the already evident sunlight, which make for a cheerful setting.
But the setting is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this incredibly unique establishment. When you first enter this casual deli an employee always greets you with a smile while wiping tables or waiting for you to approach the counter. Once you reach the counter, you’ll find two inviting options: the cold bar to your left, and hot bar to your right. On the cold bar are the fresh items, including gorgeous salads, kale, cous cous, and curried broccoli to name a few. The hot bar (my favorite) has everything you might find at a laid-back soul food restaurant. Oh wait! Didn’t I mention that Eternity is a soul food vegetarian deli? Yes it is! And the food is so good it could have easily come out of someone’s kitchen. I’ve tried everything from the lasagna, spaghetti and greens, to the lentil pea pie (an excellent choice), sweet potatoes, and protein fish equivalent – all wonderful. Both their cold and hot bars change everyday, so be prepared for a new delight with every visit. And just know, you’ll probably never be disappointed – they always aim to please.
But again, we’ve only chiseled a bit of the iceberg. Yes, there’s more! Believe it or not, the items I’ve named for you are not even listed on their menu. There are many more items made to order, such as their gyros, pizzas, hoagies and tofu fillets; small and large soups with a nice portion of hot cornbread; fresh juices; and ice cream so tasty I’ve considered giving up Ben & Jerry’s (well, not quite, but you get the picture). My favorite item from the menu is by far their smoothie. Their Eternity Delight (made with vegan ice cream, strawberries and bananas) is excellent. I’ve heard that the Very Berry Smoothie (made with raspberries, blackberries, and apple juice) also comes very highly recommended. Amazingly, none of their food options, from the hot bar, cold bar, or menu, are made with anything that “walked, ran, crawled, flew, or swam,” according to one of the employees. All of their food is 100% free of meat and its products. And it is high in nutrition. But if for some reason you feel that you haven’t reached your nutritional peak from your dining experience, Eternity also offers nutritional supplements (usually to add to your smoothie) such as ginseng, wheat germ, and lecithin. Not bad!
In doing a little research on their health-conscious meals, I found that it is not something they dreamed up haphazardly; there is definitely a method to their greatness. Eternity Deli prides itself in being, not just a healthy dining establishment, but also a community for fit individuals. According to their website, “Eternity’s goal is to create a life network through prevention and proactive alternatives to disease and disability.” In order to accomplish this, they partner with health-conscious organizations to work toward encouraging a long, healthy life through catering services, educational outreach programs and presentations, cooking demonstrations/classes, and a Community Health Awareness Series. Their hope is that the community as a whole will greatly benefit from gaining full awareness of their overall lifestyle choices.
The contribution Eternity is giving to the community holds no baring on your pocketbook when dining in the deli (thank goodness!). Their prices range anywhere from $3 – $12 depending on whether you want to leave satisfied, or with your pants unbuttoned. But if you want to be nice and full, it will cost you about $7 – $8 – not bad for a totally healthy, and immensely tasty dining experience. Eternity also keeps reasonable hours, open Monday thru Saturday, with hours as early as 10 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m. The location is prime for visitors, but unfortunately parking is not exactly inviting, as there is none available on the block of Euclid Ave. that the deli is situated. Most find it’s best to park on one of the cross streets, such as West Pine or Laclede Ave., neither of which are too far away. And by all means, the short walk from your car is worth the feast awaiting you.
I don’t know if I’ve been able to convince you to push that T-bone to the side for a moment and try something new, but if I have, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. With Eternity Deli offering the only totally vegan experience in St. Louis, there is clearly no comparison. But I guarantee, if there were other contenders in town, Eternity’s combo punch of flavor, class, and humility would, without a doubt, serve a knock out in any first round of competition. So give it a try! There’s nothing to lose – except maybe a handful of health conditions and a few pounds. You never know, going may not only change your eating habits for a day, it may change them for a lifetime.
Eternity Vegetarian Deli and Juice Bar is located at 11 S. Euclid in St. Louis, MO. For more information visit www.eternitydeli.com, email email@example.com, or call (314) 454-1851.