Wheatsville Food Co-op
Opened in Austin in 1976, Wheatsville Food Co-op is a full service, natural foods cooperative grocery store and is the only retail food cooperative in the state of Texas. Over 17,000 invested owners participate in the co-op, which recently opened a second location in the city.
At the heart of the store is the deli counter, which has a menu consisting of breakfast sandwiches and tacos (available in the morning hours only), only with “signature” and “classic” sandwiches, tempeh chili Frito pie, rice and bean bowls, tacos, and smoothies. One of the signature sandwiches, the vegan-friendly popcorn tofu po’boy, has been a hit with loyal participants since it was first served 10 years ago.
The sandwich is made of a generous heaping mound of crispy, golden tofu nuggets, served atop a Wheatsville Bakehouse French roll and dressed with homemade cashew tamari and fresh vegetables. It’s so popular with locals, it even has its own Facebook fan page.
Dana Tomlin, a manager at the co-op, told us that her team is “always amazed at how popular popcorn tofu has become. We went from making batches in a countertop fryer to installing heavy-duty equipment to handle the load. Now we put it on everything — from vegan pizza to burritos; vegans and omnivores love it!” It’s a tried and true crowd pleaser, and that’s why it’s this week’s Sandwich of the Week.