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Mac and cheeze, made dairy free, topped with fried cauliflower at Parkville Market’s Vegan Bodega.

The story

The No. 1 request from visitors to Hartford’s Parkville Market food hall was a vegan vendor, says Kelly Even, the market’s director of marketing, sales and events. As luck would have it, the Parkville team called Vegan Bodega, owned by LeRoy Knight and his longtime partner Jessica Albino, just as they were about to buy a food truck.

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A vegan order of rice and beans with platanos maduros at Parkville Market’s Vegan Bodega.

The food

Modern plant-based food isn’t just all vegetables and bland tofu, and Vegan Bodega strikes a good balance between healthy and indulgent. Nutritious options include salads and wraps with fresh vegetables, grain bowls, “sushi” bowls with vegetables and watermelon standing in for tuna, and cold-pressed juices. 

But there’s room to play, too, with vegan takes on a banh mi, Cuban sandwich and Italian hero with plant-based meats and jackfruit. Vegetable fried rice, with crisp tofu cubes tossed in General Tso sauce, tastes like your favorite Chinese takeout. You won’t miss any dairy with the mac and “cheeze,” topped with fried or grilled chick’n, or our choice, a hearty and savory fried cauliflower.

Vegan Bodega also takes inspiration from Albino’s Dominican heritage, with vegan versions of rice and beans featuring jackfruit “pernil” or fried chick’n, with beans, tostones and yucca. Baked empanadas and fried egg rolls are filled with vegetables, Impossible meat, seitan, plantains and black beans. 

The menu also offers vegan Pop-Tart style pastries, filled with various fruit flavors and even a cookie dough version, and Knight and Albino plan to add more desserts in the future.

Eat in or take out?

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Vegan Bodega, an all-vegan food vendor, opened at Parkville Market in June.

Parkville Market’s lively setting in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood provides ample indoor and outdoor seating, with live music and entertainment on weekends (and several bars, if you fancy a beer or cocktail). But Vegan Bodega’s food travels successfully, and plant-based eaters will enjoy the extensive options.


Vegan Bodega

Parkville Market, 1400 Park St., Hartford

parkvillemarket.com/vendors/current@TheLittleHerbivores on Facebook, @veganbodega_ct on Instagram

Hours: Lunch and dinner Tue.–Sun. Closed Mon.

Wheelchair accessible

Leeanne Griffin is the food and consumer reporter for Hearst Connecticut, handling coverage of restaurant openings and closings, trends, events and general news about Connecticut food and beverage businesses.

This article appears in the September 2021 issue of Connecticut MagazineYou can subscribe to Connecticut Magazine here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get our latest and greatest content delivered right to your inbox. Have a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.