By Betsy DiJulio
I don’t know that, given the meaning of the slang phrase “sloppy seconds”—which conjures up nothing appetizing—I would have necessarily chosen it as the name of my restaurant. But, alas, that’s the name and I will go back for Thoughtless Thirds.
Our vegan friends and favorite sidekicks for reviews, Juan and Barbara Gelpi, invited us to go with them one Thursday evening when burgers, including Impossible Burgers, are only $6.50. They love burgers far more than I do, so I will defer to Juan’s praise of this burger which was a lovely, substantial thing to behold. Fairly straightforward, the nicely-proportioned patty was served with Vegenaise mayo on a plain bun with glistening red tomato slices and crunchy, bright green lettuce.
My favorite part of the presentation was the dill pickle and green olive spire on top. Says Juan, who knows from Impossible burgers:
“What I liked about this Impossible burger is that it was effortlessly vegan. It didn’t require any alterations to their menu. It was generous in size and presentation. The sides are excellent. Both the coleslaw and the French fries are vegan and delicious. It is far and away the best bargain for the Impossible that we have tried. There is no longer any reason to pay a premium for the Impossible burger.”
So there you have it straight from the mouth of a gourmet vegan cook who has a special fondness for the Impossible. You can also order the burger as a cheeseburger with vegan cheese and grilled onions. That would be reason enough to give Sloppy Seconds a try. But there is more.
I love Vegan Sloppy Joes ($7). But, at least to my knowledge, there are none available on menus in the 757. So, I knew I wanted to try them, but I am not much of a bread lover. I am also not a big fan of ridiculous portions, so I chose the Sloppy Fries ($9) over the Sloppy Seconds Signature Plate ($13). Both are vegetarian, but with a cheese substitution or omission (my choice), they are easily made vegan.
A whopping portion of signature Sloppy Seconds Sloppy Joe mixture came ladled over fries making my selection huge, but not ridiculous; that is, two meals as opposed to three or four. The thick black bean, onion, and bell pepper mélange tastes not at all like the Sloppy Joes of my youth, but it was delicious just the same. Far tangier than I remember, the base reminded me much more of well-balanced barbeque sauce.
The fries weren’t terribly crispy—how could they be under an avalanche of the thick chili-like mixture?—but not one was left standing after my second meal. And, after my first go at this meal, not a shred of cabbage was left clinging to the bowl. The creamy-chunky texture of the Sloppy Joe mixture over fries was a perfect partner to this deliciously different slaw which, if you are vegan, you know is hard to come by around here.
Sweet and smoky in that addictive chipotlesque way, the generous portion of slaw was crunchy with an ideal ratio of cabbage to golden-orange dressing. Sides are $3, but you will pay an extra buck for the vegan version of the slaw, which I was happy to do. It was that good.
Another vegan option that we did not try is the Vegan Mediterranean Rice Bowl (grilled squash and peppers plus caramelized onion over rice topped with chopped tomatoes and Balsamic sauce for $11). Verify before you order, but other vegan options on the menu appear to be Pico and House Chips, the House ($7) or Pickled Beet Salad ($9)—hold the Havarti—the Dini Panini without cheese or with a substitution ($11); Sweet Potato or Regular Fries, Roasted Pickled Beets, Seasonal Veggies, or Black Beans and Rice (all $3); and the Vegan Treat of the Week ($7).
The night we visited, the treat was indeed an indulgence: a shared slice of S’More Cheesecake from Kahiau’s Bakery and Café. You know this flavor combo well: graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow. The texture of both crust and creamy filling was on point, the chocolate drizzle artful, and the large marshmallow on top beautifully browned.
Get past the name and get to Sloppy Seconds, a large industrial-diner space with yellow walls, black ceilings, a mammoth bar, live music, and vegan options that are more than a second thought.
WANT TO GO? Sloppy Seconds, 4356 Holland Road, Virginia Beach, 757-306-4039.