Rad.ish Street Food Made Vegan

The new vegan restaurant provides a modern take on fast food


Photo: C. Copenhaver/staff

The exterior of Rad.ish

Cici Copenhaver, Writer

  In recent years, people all over the world have changed their diets and lifestyles to better accommodate their health issues and needs- from cutting out gluten or dairy to attempting the increasingly popular keto diet. Specifically, interest in veganism has steadily risen, with more and more restaurants supporting and promoting veganism through their food. One restaurant in particular that seeks to encourage respect and well-being for people (and animals) is Rad.ish: an innovative, local, and woman-owned restaurant in Traverse City. 100% plant-based, the staff at Rad.ish utilizes produce from local farms and foods to craft their menu.

  Located adjacent to the Coin Slot Arcade, the small restaurant is almost a hidden treasure. When you first walk in, you’re greeted by the striking and quirky interior: red and black chevron print lining the floors and red lights hanging in contrast to the black ceiling. The atmosphere is relaxed and the large pride flag under the register indicated the restaurant is LGBTQ+ friendly.

  At first glance at the menu online, I noticed the large selection of both sushi and burgers and was intrigued by the “That’s Fire Roll.” However, when I walked into the actual restaurant I was informed that they didn’t have sushi or fries and that the items were only seasonal. I was a bit disappointed, as I had been looking forward to trying the vegan sushi, but ultimately decided on Rad.ish’s version of the vegan burger: the “No Animals Harmed Style” burger. According to the menu, the burger is a take on the California-based food chain In & Out, with the name being a reference to the popular “Animal burger” the chain creates. The Cali-style cuisine also serves as an ode to the owners’ past of living in Los Angeles. The concoction is crafted with Impossible burger meat and topped with homemade 1000 Island Dressing, onions, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, sandwiched between a brioche bun.

Rad.ish’s eccentric interior–equipped with lots of neon signs (Photo: C. Copenhaver/staff)

  The cashier was informative, letting me know that the menu items were out and showing me where I could wait until my burger was ready. I took a seat in the couch area and waited less than 5 minutes for the burger to be done. I took advantage of the expansive yet shaded outdoor dining area, composed of picnic tables and blocked from the street by a food truck and converted shipping container. I chose the to-go option, and the burger was placed in a paper bag accompanied by Great Lakes chips. Based on appearances, the brioche bun was fluffy and the burger looked standard. The dressing was delicious, and the vegan cheese had an uncanny resemblance to Velveeta. However, what really shocked me was the burger patty itself. I was slightly unnerved by how similar it tasted to a non-vegan burger, and was mystified by the texture.

The “No Animals Harmed Style” burger (Photo: C. Copenhaver/staff)

  Overall, the look and feel of Rad.ish definitely brings a new and urban experience to Traverse City, and I enjoyed the modern take on classic items. However, with high price points, ($15 per burger with tip) and confusing menu items, the experience wasn’t perfect. I would mainly recommend Rad.ish to people who want to step outside of their comfort zones, or devout vegans looking for fast food.