Philly CheeseFAKE - This Charlotte Imposter is the Real Deal

By: Samantha Kingsmore


Eat Vegan at ZiZi’s Vegan Take-Out, Charlotte!

Nestled deep into the University area, you’ll find a little [extremely] hidden gem -  ZiZi’s Vegan Take-Out. WAIT. Don’t click “back” because seeing the word “vegan” just turned this into ZiZi’s Tasteless Take-Out.

The food is phenomenal!

For what it’s worth, my meat-loving husband ate his entire Philly Cheese Steak and wanted to order another before I was done taking pictures of my food.

The Location - 7945 N. Tryon St. 

Don’t even bother with the GPS. All the construction, missing and rerouted roads leave the GPS as confused as our presidential elections.

Get on 85 and head to IKEA, but DON’T take the IKEA exit - that’ll leave you u-turning all over S. Tryon.

Exit at WT Harris, get back on S. Tryon and look for Hibachi Express. ZiZi’s is hidden back there in that brick shopping center.

The Feels

The place is small. Definitely perching on that “take-out” vibe. They used to only have two small tables with two chairs, but they recently added a high-top table with a few more chairs.

Come in minimal clothing. It’s always a little sauna-feeling in there.

It’s really colorful - with lots of artwork and Gullah memorabilia. There’s a quaint little grocery section stocked with vegan and gluten-free items and they play island tunes on the speakers.

Just ring the bell and someone comes out to take your order.

The Food

No meat. No dairy. No problem.

The menu is made up of: Subs & Burgers, Wraps, Salads, Entrees, Appetizers, Sides and Smoothies/Juices. It’s all made fresh to order, so call ahead for quicker service.

Menu disclaimer: “Animal names are used to reflect familiar styles of traditional recipes… NO REAL MEAT! Land or sea.”

The wings actually made me chuckle. They have a wooden “bone” in them so you have something to hold and bite off of like a real wing.

It was clever. My humor is simple.

Anyways. Most of the proteins are plant based. Some soy products, grains, and obviously lots of veggies. The “cheese” is whipped veganaise sauce.

Ladies and gentlemen, here it is: The Philly Cheese Steak.

Delish chopped seitan cheese and grilled onions

 It looks REAL doesn’t it?! Their Philly Cheese Steak is the most raved about menu item on their Yelp reviews. They’re all true to their words. It’s amazing.

Honeyfree BBQ Wings

Again, don’t they look real? Don’t act like you didn’t smirk at the “bones.” Wings also come in Buffalo. My vote is on the BBQ, but they’re both solid appetizer choices.

Soul Burger

Black-eyed peas, yams, collard greens, seasoning flour and cheese with vegan mayo, onion, tomato, lettuce, sprouts

Baked Chipotle Tofu Wrap

Looks can be deceiving. You won’t regret the order. If you do, sue me for your $6.99 back.

I’m a crazy person who doesn’t enjoy eating meat anyways. Tofu wrap also comes in Baked Buffalo. This time the buffalo has my vote.

But, I would give both equal order opportunity.


Top- Cauliflower Potato Mash and Gravy/Bottom- Mac & Cheese (pasta, corn, tofu, seasoning). In my opinion, the best two they have to offer.

However, I haven’t tried the Collard Greens and those are apparently some of the best in town. They have a little of everything though. Even fries for the basic guests who try to be adventurous play it safe with the black bean burger.

Try a meat-less Monday, except maybe on Tuesday since they’re closed on Mondays, and try something new! Or expand your vegan taste buds to the other side of town.

This hidden gem is worth the treasure hunt. Trust me on this one.