All-vegan restaurant opens in downtown Urbana


The Dancing Dog, located at 126 W. Main St. in Urbana, opened on Oct. 20 as an all-vegan restaurant and juicery.

Urbana is now home to The Dancing Dog Eatery and Juicery, an all-vegan restaurant serving a variety of plant-based foods, fresh-squeezed juices and homemade pastries and desserts.

The restaurant opened on Oct. 20 at 126 W. Main St. in Urbana. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available daily, along with a brunch menu on Sundays.

The owners, Brian Behrns and his wife, Linda Lehovec, opened the restaurant after observing a vegan diet for the past five years. They provide a casual, full-service dining environment and are committed to using the freshest and locally grown organic ingredients possible, according to their website.

“What created the idea originally is that Linda wanted to take me out for my birthday a couple of years ago and realized when she looked online that there was literally nowhere to go where we could sit down and look at literally anything on the menu and say, ‘I want that,’ and be safe,” Behrns said. “So we said, ‘Why don’t we do it?’”

At any time of day, a meal can begin with a Soup of the Day, zucchini chips, bruschetta, roasted chili and pepper quesadillas, nachos or a hummus plate, all of which are on the appetizer menu.

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For breakfast, the restaurant offers hot cereal, granola, buckwheat pancakes, tofu scramble, sausage muffins and tofu scramble burritos. Scones, muffins and tea breads are also present on the pastry menu, which changes daily. The lunch and dinner menus provide an extensive array of homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas and more. The restaurant’s juicery has a menu of juices along with the option for customers to choose their own combination of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Vegan beer and wine are also available daily, and the dessert menu varies.

Mike Fowle, freshman in Engineering, has been a vegan for four years.

“Finding food to eat isn’t too terrible, but finding variety is hard,” he said. “What I’ve noticed is a lot of vegans find one thing they like at a restaurant and always go back to it.”

In addition to tofu and vegetable items, The Dancing Dog has meat-inspired foods to appeal to non-vegan customers as well, including a Reuben and Meatball Marinara.

“You wouldn’t know that they aren’t meat,” Behrns said. “What we’re trying to do is make it appealing so if one person in a couple is vegan and the other one isn’t, they can come in and have something to eat and know what the items are.”

Meat is substituted with vegan options such as tofu, seitan and tempeh.

“I can find things to eat, but sometimes my girlfriend will want to order something like a pizza, and I’ll have to think ‘Oh, I can’t eat that,’” Fowle said.

On Thursday afternoon, Amanda Ramey, a resident of a town south of Urbana, tried the restaurant for her first time.

“I’m not a vegan, but I work close by, and it seemed like the food could be good,” she said.

Though the restaurant was open only for breakfast and lunch during last week’s soft opening, the owners hope to expand the hours in the coming weeks. Full hours will be Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with brunch on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Maddie can be reached at [email protected].