When Amy McNutt opened Spiral Diner & Bakery in Fort Worth, TX in 2002, vegan food wasn’t a particularly mainstream concept—especially in a city nicknamed “Cowtown.” Nevertheless, the area’s first completely plant-based restaurant was such a success that the comfort food-focused eatery went on to open second and third locations in nearby Dallas and Denton. And though today (following the ravages of a pandemic and a battered, but not broken, restaurant industry) McNutt has consolidated back to her one flagship Fort Worth location, Spiral Diner is still going strong, as committed as ever to being a plant-based sanctuary in the heart of Texas.

Donning a classic ‘50s-diner feel, Spiral Diner instantly evokes the delicious nostalgia of old-school diners but with an entirely plant-based twist. Before taking a seat at the retro tabletop, take a peek at the pie-, cake-, and cookie-filled display case at the counter. If you’re smart, you’ll want to immediately calculate how much room to save for dessert. Spoiler alert: a lot. 

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Spiral Diner Big Kahuna 2Spiral Diner

What’s on the menu at Spiral Diner

On a typical day, the joint is filled with local yokels, tattooed straight-edge vegans, and new customers eager to try something new. This eclectic smattering of diners finds an unspoken unity as they devour everything from piled-high burgers (try the Big Kahuna with grilled pineapple, housemade bacon, melted vegan cheese, barbecue sauce, and jalapeños) to enormous hot plate specials, including the Hell’s Half Acre Plate with barbecue sauce-slathered breaded chicken strips, coleslaw, mac and cheese, grilled broccoli, and Texas toast.

Spiral Diner NachosSpiral Diner

First-timers will want to start with the most popular dish, the Nacho Supremo—a heaping mound of crispy tortilla chips topped with nacho cheese, fluffy quinoa, black beans, fresh guacamole, and a dollop of sour cream (bold gastronomes should try the Spicy Buffalo Chik’n version with a drizzle of dairy-free blue cheese dressing). Even for the skeptic, it’ll quickly become apparent why the Dallas Observer named this fully loaded bar-food staple the Best Nachos in Dallas—vegan or otherwise.

Those with a hefty appetite looking for a vegan spin on traditional diner fare should choose The Mitch Tofu Club—a double-decker sandwich with succulent grilled tofu, smoky bacon bits, and spicy chipotle mayonnaise—quartered and held in place with frilly toothpicks (of course). Order with a tangy mustard potato salad, or opt for a side of the Mac N’ Cheese—al dente macaroni shells smothered in a thick and impossibly cheesy sauce that would lure even the most rabid cheddar-lover to the plant side. 

Spiral Diner Fajita QuesadillaSpiral Diner

Along with big, bodacious comfort food, this is, of course, the state known for its Tex-Mex cuisine, and Spiral does not disappoint. Go more “Tex” with the Frito Pie, a classic combo of crunchy corn Fritos smothered in nacho cheese and Texas Red Chili—slow-cooked with two types of vegan meat and a secret blend of spices. Or go more “Mex” with the Fajita Quesadillas, a massive melty cheese-filled flour tortilla generously stuffed with juicy seitan, peppers and onions, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, green onion, and creamy chipotle sauce. Topped off with vegan sour cream, guacamole and pickled jalapeños, this is one meal you’ll return for again and again.

Spiral Diner Breakfast Grilled Cheese 2Spiral Diner

And don’t make the mistake of forgetting about brunch. Come in on the weekend (or weekday—breakfast is served all day every day) and order a short stack of sweet pancakes customized with your choice of chocolate chips, pecans, or blueberries. For savory breakfast-lovers, try the Viva Las Migas, which sees the classic combo of fluffy tofu scramble and corn chips cooked down and piled with bacon bits, tomatoes, olives, corn, zucchini, and salsa, plus your choice flour tortillas or corn tortilla chips for scooping.

Or split the difference between sweet and savory with the Pancake Grilled Cheese San’ich, featuring two pancakes stuffed with melted cheese and bacon (or Impossible Chicken Tenders and jalapeños, for an extra charge).

Sprial Diner SundaeVegan desserts not to miss at Spiral Diner

Many regulars are known to pop in to Spiral to indulge solely in the expertly made desserts. The Turtle Brownie Sundae—a hot-and-cold dessert experience featuring a warm brownie with your choice of ice cream, spiced pecans, whipped cream, salty-sweet housemade caramel sauce, and a cherry on top—is a dynamite option. Meander back to the dessert counter to choose from the bakery’s large selection of rotating, ready-to-go confections. Pumpkin spice and lemon poppyseed mini bundt cakes will put your restraint to the test, while chocolate bourbon-pecan and sweet potato pies will make you feel like a Southern belle.

Dreamboat Donuts & Sundaes Cookie MonsterDreamboat Donuts & Sundaes

Vegan ventures in Fort Worth, TX

McNutt’s passion for plant-based cuisine extends beyond Spiral Diner, and her recent ventures continue to delight and innovate. Dreamboat Donuts & Sundaes, a whimsical dessert haven, builds upon Spiral’s legacy of next-level vegan treats. Located in Fort Worth, this vibrant spot specializes in artisanal doughnuts, each made from scratch and decorated with colorful, imaginative toppings. From classic glazed and chocolate rainbow sprinkle to unique creations like Cookie Monster (with electric blue frosting, chocolate chips, and a gob of vegan cookie dough) and customizable Oatly soft serve-topped doughnut sundaes, Dreamboat Donuts caters to every sweet tooth.

Maiden Fort WorthMaiden

In addition to the playful and sweet, McNutt also brings a touch of elegance and sophistication to the vegan dining scene with Maiden, a fine-dining restaurant. Located in Fort Worth, Maiden offers a refined, plant-based menu that showcases the artistry and creativity of vegan cuisine. The restaurant’s menu is a seasonal affair, with each dish meticulously crafted to highlight the freshest, local ingredients. Diners can indulge in exquisite offerings such as smoked beet tartare, truffle-infused risotto, and decadent chocolate mousse. Maiden is a testament to McNutt’s commitment to elevating vegan dining, providing an unparalleled experience that challenges preconceptions and sets a new standard for plant-based fine dining.

Spiral Diner Staff Spiral Diner

Spiral is a legendary, fully vegan enterprise that’s been busting myths about the food scene in Texas for a jaw-dropping 22 years, and it’s doing so with a lot of heart. And it’s that sense of love—that can be felt in each cheesy, saucy, sweet bite—that keeps regulars coming back week after week and year after year, and what makes Spiral Diner a true star in the Lone Star State. 

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