By Valerie Shore, VRG intern
Many people would be surprised to find a vegetarian dish at a BBQ restaurant that’s not a side or something like grilled cheese – but Hempen Hill BBQ has a plethora of vegetarian dishes, from their Smoked Tofu with soba buckwheat noodles to their “Vicken” Ravioli (roasted vegetable ravioli with artichoke hearts and vegan “chicken” strips.)
A lot of these options are made possible by the Proprietor herself, Kathy Reeder, who is a 20-year vegetarian. It may seem surprising, a vegetarian co-owning a BBQ restaurant, but Kathy simply compares herself to Johnny Depp’s character in the movie “Blow” – “I don’t do my own product.” She does recognize, however, that not everyone is like her, and “it takes all kinds to make the world go round.” As for including vegetarian items on the menu, Kathy says that it was a no-brainer from day one: Hempen Hill BBQ is an extension of her own family life, and vegetarianism is part of that life. The inspiration for the Smoked Tofu recipe even came from her own personal days of camping, so there is a personal touch with many of the vegetarian recipes.
Kathy also credits many of the recipe ideas to their head chef, Jason Vogel, who created many of the vegetarian dishes on the menu and continually meets Kathy’s challenges to create meatless dishes with unconventional ingredients. Vegetarians and vegans come through their restaurant daily, according to Kathy, and all of the vegetarian menu items can be made vegan with a simple request. Other vegetarian menu items include the “Tree Hugger” veggie burger, the Exotic ‘ShroomPasta, and Veggemite – potato and cheddar pierogies, as well as many appetizer options. Hempen Hill BBQ is located in Hagerstown, Maryland, at Fountain Head Plaza.
For more vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly dining in the greater Baltimore area, click here.