Full disclaimer, I work for HipCityVeg as a campus ambassador. Even before I did, I loved their food, I loved their message, and I now love working for them; I first met the company in 2018 as a scared new vegan-- really unsure of how to go out to eat with my friends in Philly and still have fun options. Someone recommended HipCityVeg to me, and the food convinced me that the whole vegan thing wasn’t going to be so bad, partially because it was so delicious, and I couldn't believe it contained zero animal products. I fell in love with the company and their 100% compostable packaging and silverware, because I knew I could walk away from a meal there with an incredibly small carbon footprint. So the fact that HipCityVeg has just become the newest GWorld vendor has me beyond thrilled for the impact their presence will have in the GW community.

Photo Courtesy of HipCityVeg

What is HipCityVeg?

HipCityVeg was founded in 2012 by one of Philadelphia’s powerhouse plant-based entrepreneurs, Nicole Marquis. “I wanted to debunk the myth that plant-based food is just sprouts and granola” she said in a 2019 interview. “[I wanted to] show the world that we can eat all of our favorite foods, have them come from plants and be totally satisfied.” Philly, a city known for its insatiable cheesesteak appetite, overwhelmingly agreed; the store sold out of food within the first few hours of opening. Their menu full of vegan comfort foods like chick'n sandwiches, burgers, sweet potato fries, even vegan cheesesteaks, and the best milkshakes I've ever had (not to mention their in house condiments like the HipCityVeg sauce and, my personal favorite, the sriracha aioli) has made a meat-loving city swoon and has pleasantly surprised every omnivorous friend I've dragged to their counter. 

Photo Courtesy of HipCityVeg

They’ve now expanded to multiple locations across Philadelphia, and they made the jump to D.C. by opening their Chinatown location on 7th St. in 2016. Last summer, they opened their newest location in Dupont Circle, about a 10 minute walk from GW's campus, right around the corner from a student favorite, Surfside. As a staggering 14% of college students are vegan, joining GWorld was the natural next step. 

What is GWorld?

GW’s meal plan has been a contentious work in progress for the past five years. The administration moved to close the main campus dining hall and create a unique open meal plan after students increasingly chose to spend their dining dollars at participating third-party vendors. Students living on campus are currently required to buy a meal plan of either $1,525 or $2,375 (depending on whether they have a kitchen) per semester, which they can then choose to spend at one of GW’s 155 partnered businesses using their GWorld card. While this has allowed students an unprecedented amount of freedom to design their own dining experience, doing so can be an incredible challenge in the capital, especially when students have specific dietary needs. 

Photo Courtesy of HipCityVeg

Why Does This Matter?

D.C is one of the country’s 10 most expensive cities, and Foggy Bottom is actually part of the 11% of D.C. that is classified as a food desert. In 2018, a coalition of students and faculty called The Food Experience Task Force came together to produce a State of Dining report for the University, but plant-based students were left largely unaddressed. Vegan and vegetarian students were not interviewed as their own category, and the limited number of plant-based options available to students was not considered as an exacerbating factor of GW food insecurity.

As a vegan student living on campus myself, I know that this is a large gap in our food culture at GW. I spend almost all of my GWorld on groceries because of the limited affordable options for pre-made food available to me, which means I spend an exorbitant amount of my time cooking. I often find myself stressing over whether I can find enough time to devote to my studies, friends and family, sleeping, and the numerous jobs I maintain to afford living in this city-- all while cooking nutritious meals that take time and energy to produce and honor my dietary choices. It can be hard for vegan students to buy meals out, even when it would save us time, if we don’t want to eat the same three meals every day.

HipCityVeg changes that. Nina Clark, an intern with CampaignGW and a plant-based student said she, too, struggles with the time constraints of being a full-time student and cooking all plant-based meals. “Having HipCityVeg [on GWorld] is so exciting!” she said, as she explained that being able to eat out more often with more options would really help. “Being able to access vegan comfort food and breakfast on GWorld is a game changer for me so I don’t have to spend unnecessary outside money to treat myself.” 

But this news isn't just exciting for GW's plant-based community. HipCityVeg is part of the new wave of GWorld vendors that come with a guaranteed MealDeal: $10, $8, and $6 meals that are specifically meant for GWorld users (click this link for a list of all of them!). Having worked for GWDining and spent time talking with students, I see that students are desperate for more discounts and are painfully unaware of the ones that already exist. That's why HipCityVeg has started doing monthly Pop-Ups on the H Street Terrace (outside of Marvin) to connect with the GW community and spread the word about their food and the MealDeals they provide to students.

So, what’s the (meal) deal? 7 days a week at HipCityVeg, you can get a breakfast sandwich and coffee for $6, a 6-piece nugget and fries meal for $8, or a 10-piece nugget and fries deal for $10. 

Photo Courtesy of HipCityVeg

I highly recommend heading over to HipCityVeg soon to try their food and see what all the hype is about. Get a MealDeal or branch out and try their chipotle chick'n fajita wrap or arugula taco salad with a chocolate milkshake (my favorite!). You'll be enjoying one of the most sustainable meals around, and I guarantee that it'll be some of the best fast food you've had in a long time on GWorld or anywhere else.