Sneaky Vegan: Breaking Barcade

If I said there was a spot in Jersey City on Newark Avenue called Barcade, what would you think it is? A bar, maybe? How about an arcade? Or, do you think that it’s a bar that’s also an arcade?? Well… yeah, that’s what it is. You would be right. It’s pretty obvious now that I think about it.

And, I guess being that it’s a super hipster concept, we all can assume they have vegan food, right? Is everything so obvious?! What I bet you didn’t know is that they have a really good deal on lunch everyday until 4 PM. Okay- maybe you did know that. Maybe you eat there once a week every week for that very reason…. Then, why are you even here? Just go away.


See? Yeah. For those of you who didn’t come here just to fact check, you can see that this is a sweet deal. Sandwich, beer, pretzels, AND pickle!  Take note of all those items. Note how sumptuous and delightful everything looks, especially those cute pretzel nuggets.

I went into Barcade for the third time in my life. The first time I played arcade games. The second time I had a drink. This time I had the $10 lunch special! It was about 1.30 PM on a Monday afternoon and there were 2 women seated at the bar. I sat near them and played it cool. I checked out the menu, as if I hadn’t looked over the menu 400 times before arriving, just to make sure I could pronounce my order and not get some random dairy item on it by accident.

The tricky part was the beer menu, since there were so many options I had never heard of before….


Finally, I went with the Brooklyn Sorachi Ace because they describe it as “Belgian candy sugar”. They know me so well. I just wish I had noted the “10 oz. pour” part. I’m a thirsty person! I have thirsty needs!

I placed my order real cool-like, “Hey- can I get a Brooklyn Ace and a vegan veggie burger.”

They know you mean business when you say, “Can I get…” but don’t say it as a question. Basically, it means I’m a cowboy. That’s universal.

He took my order, took yet another swig of ‘free sample’ beer from his ‘free sample’ beer glass, and placed my order. Meanwhile, I leaned back (since I took the only barstool in the world with a back) and watched ‘Secretariat’ on the television. Yep, I’m a cowboy.

Barcade is a poorly-lit spot, obviously. You don’t want reflections on the glass of your arcade game. Duh. But it’s definitely packed with games and whimsically written food, beverage, and snack options on a chalkboard wall. IMG_5977

They have all sort of liquors and beers and chips and nuts and jerky and who knows what else?

The beer came without any issues. I drank it without spilling it. I liked it quite a lot, too! Cowboy life. He also knew I needed two coasters for my beverage. ‘Cause I’m an unpredictable sort. Who knows if I’ll boomerang one coaster or rip it in half. I’m a loose cannon, baby.


Just at the climax point of the movie, my food was served. Ooh!


So… does this look like the advertisement to you? Because I was a little surprised. You can’t tell by the photo, but my sandwich was a baby sandwich. It was small. What you can tell is that my pretzels were not nuggets. My pretzels were pretzel-shaped and definitely emptied out of a brown and tan bag.

Another thing to be aware of is that 1- the bread is thin and quite hard 2- There was no spicy ketchup on my sandwich/burger thing. I could have asked for some ketchup, but I didn’t want to interrupt my alcoholic waiter’s ‘sample drink’ frenzy. I also wanted to be able to taste my burguh.

First bite was anti-climactic. The veggies and crumbly bread got me so disoriented and distracted that I didn’t taste much. So, I removed the lettuce, I ate the tomato and onion (pickled onion? Tasty!) and left the burger on the jawbreaker bread.

For those of you at home wondering what kind of veggie burger it was:

6 oz. fresh patty of beets, brown rice, and black beans
topped with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayo
& spicy ketchup on a bun (Vegan on request)


The burger was crumbling, and the bread was really not cooperating…. But, honestly, it was a pretty unique and tasty patty! The pickle was also really good. Like, really, really good. I wanted ten more pickles.

Much like life, I did not get what I wanted. I got food to keep me alive, I enjoyed bits and hated bits, but I had a new experience and had no regrets! Plus, for $10 and a $2 tip, I was a happy little penguin. That’s enough for me, I’d do it again! Edible, worth trying, and cheap, but I wouldn’t take my mama here for her birthday.

So, I’d give this unexpected little lunch spot:

Rating: 7/10 unicorn hugs

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