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Spiral Diner & Bakery Now Open in Denton

Denton's only all-vegan restaurant is here: Spiral Diner & Bakery quietly opened its doors to customers for the first time Tuesday. 

The restaurant has been working on getting the Denton location up and running since last July, from building out the space to hiring the right staff. After some weekend test runs, co-owners Amy McNutt and James Johnston decided to open the doors Tuesday for a soft opening, not promoting the restaurant on social media yet.

Spiral Diner first opened in Fort Worth in 2002 and has since expanded to Dallas and Denton. What started as McNutt wanting to show people that vegan food can be just as good as animal products has transformed to a full diner experience, plus beer, wine and a bakery.

"We wanted to build something that’s familiar," McNutt said. "That’s why we have it diner style; it’s comfortable and familiar and not too hippy-dippy for Texas. It needed to be super friendly, and we want people to feel like they’re going to Denny’s or something they’re familiar with."

Denton has had a vegan restaurant in the past, and the University of North Texas dining hall Mean Greens is all vegan. Even with limited hours and being closed on weekends and during the summer, Mean Greens has paved the way for more vegan-only options in Denton.

At Spiral Diner, the menu is expansive, just like at a traditional diner. Options include breakfast favorites such as pancakes and tofu scrambles, pick-your-patty burgers, loaded nachos and traditional hot plates, including spaghetti and meatballs. Most of the menu is between $8 and $13 for a full meal. 

When the restaurant started, employees used to make some things in-house to ensure they were vegan, such as powdered sugar. Even with an increase in options in vegan replacements now, the protein options, like fake bacon and cheeses made primarily from cashews, are all made at the restaurant, McNutt said.  

"We still make everything in-house and our menu is out of control. It's a lot of prep, and that’s why we have 50 employees in-house," McNutt said. "We could make more money if we made it more simple, but that's not the point. We’re trying to persuade people to eat vegan, so if they’re not blown away by the amount of options, it’s like, what’s the point of Spiral?"

In addition to the sit-down options, the restaurant has a full bakery with all-vegan goodies. A display counter by the checkout register is stocked, plus customers can put in orders for custom cakes and cupcakes, with 24 flavor options. Plus, the restaurant makes its own ice cream. 

The ice cream, and other vegan goodies, will soon be available for purchase in display freezers at the restaurant so customers can take ready-made options and frozen treats home. Diners can also call in to-go orders for pickup at 940-514-0101.

The 3,000-square-foot space seats 82 inside, with a combination of booths for the traditional diner feel, and tables that can be moved and reconfigured to host large groups of people. There's additional seating outside, too, a first for any of the Spiral Diner locations. 

In the next week or so, there will be an official grand opening and push on Spiral's social media accounts to let people know the doors are open. McNutt said they wanted to start with a soft opening Tuesday to adjust the staff and make sure everything works correctly.

The diner is at 608 E. Hickory St., next to the Downtown Denton Transit Center, and is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.