Hungry Pants, the curiously named restaurant with a flexitarian menu, had barely been open five months when it closed due to the social distancing guidelines in late March. It reopened on the first of May, but even though Phase 1 allowed for in-house dining, the owners, Joey Conicella and Alex Marin, decided to offer takeout only for the time being.
Perhaps they spent those several weeks closed working on their takeout game, because my experience was seamless.
Hungry Pants’ gimmick is that it has a menu designed to attract diners who wish to maintain a plant-based diet but does not exclude those who want seafood or meat as a protein.
Take for example the Hurry Curry bowl, which on its own is vegan-certified with a base of black rice, broccoli florets, chunks of butternut squash, a few cherry tomatoes and sauteed onions. With the yellow curry sauce that comes on the side, the dish can be a satisfying and filling one.
But I chose the option of adding seared salmon (grilled chicken or a poached egg are also available add ons, as is tofu, but then what’s the point?). For the $7 fee, on top of the $10 base price, it was a sizable fillet, and when mixed in with the nutty rice and vegetables, added a nice meaty layer.
There was nothing flexible about the Cheeseburger my companion ordered. The only thing vegetarian about it was the cow itself, which was raised on grass. It featured a nicely formed patty on a fresh bun that didn’t overwhelm it. It was topped with melted cheddar cheese, a leafy lettuce flap and tomato. I was told on the phone that the burgers could only be cooked medium – no explanation for that given – but I did not find that it had been too overcooked.
The roasted Saucy Brussels I ordered as a side dish were al dente and had a nice spicy kick in the sweet and sour sauce.
Another side of Classic French Fries, served in a classic Chinese takeout container, were a bit too soggy.
The woman who took my order on the phone was personable and friendly, and so was the young man who answered when I pulled up at the SoDo restaurant to fetch my order. Everything was neatly packaged and the young woman who placed the bag in my trunk was careful to put it to one side to prevent it from tipping over.
And I liked that the staff were all wearing masks that were the Hungry Pants green. Nice branding.
Hungry Pants is at 3421 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for takeout only, lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-412-6300.