Fitchburg Foodie Finds

Sunflower Beet Burger & Cheesecake at Surya Café

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Chef Lauren Montelbano at Surya Cafe has spent many years nourishing mind and body. Full of color, texture and dynamic flavors, these vegetarian, gluten-free foods enchant the taste buds.

The sunflower beet burger will leave you happily sated. Made with beets, carrots, jalapeno, chickpeas, sunflower seeds and flax, it’s served in a dense bun topped with caramelized onions and avocado. One dollar from every burger is donated to Healthy Community Kitchens, a non-profit that provides healing meals to people facing a health crisis.

Pair the burger with a delectable homemade soup – the Tom Ka is delightful – and do not skip dessert. On a summer afternoon, the strawberry basil cheesecake with a filling of cashews and coconut milk melts in your mouth.

Flying Hound Burger at The Flying Hound Alehouse

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Who doesn’t love a scrumptious secret sauce? There’s no doubt you’ll adore it topping the signature Flying Hound burger. This homemade hot pepper mayo adds spicy flair to the burger’s Muenster cheese, cherry wood bacon, soft-fried egg, arugula, tomato and red onion.

Of course, you’ll wash it down with the perfect beer. There’s no shortage on tap with 32 draft lines as well as numerous bottles being served up at The Flying Hound Alehouse, a European pub with a lively atmosphere and pretty patio and fireplace. Watch your favorite game on big screen TVs while enjoying burgers, European entrees like bangers and mash, a Friday fish fry and or other items from their upscale pub menu.

Russian Dumplings at Oasis Café

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Owners Kim and Paul Schwoerer tried to take their dumplings off the menu at Oasis Café. The dough pockets are work-intensive and most are slated for their downtown dumpling shop. But Oasis customers missed them too much – the Russian “pelmeni” is a lunchtime favorite at the café.

These delicious dumplings have an Asian flair. Be sure to order both potato and beef – too hard to choose. Made from scratch, the russet potato dumplings are smooth and creamy. Paul uses local beef for the chewy meat version. Both are topped with what makes this dish divine – Sriracha, a curry powder blend, sweet chili sauce, cilantro and sour cream.

There’s no shortage of choices if you’ve had your fill of pelmeni (hard to imagine that would happen). Order up soups and premium sandwiches served on locally baked breads. There’s a pretty outdoor space with sun streaking through trellises. Or come in to enjoy the café’s warm and modern décor with a cup of locally roasted EVP coffee.

Beignets at Liliana’s Restaurant

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Chef Dave Heide calls his beignets “little pillows of happiness”. It’s a perfect description of these sweet, deep-fried French fritters.

At Liliana’s New Orleans restaurant, Heide has perfected the beignet – and added a twist on this Cajun favorite. With loads of powdered sugar, Heide bumps up the richness factor by using made-from-scratch brioche dough rather than the traditional bread dough for his pastries. What results is pure heaven in a light rectangular package.

Enjoy beignets any time of day, but brunch seems to be a lovely way to share a plate with family and friends while sipping on café au lait, a mimosa or a bloody Mary topped with pickled veggies and a spicy shrimp. Throw in live jazz and upscale Cajun décor and you’ll be transported to the Big Easy.

Lunch at Haveli Indian Restaurant

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Devinder Badwal has been serving up Indian food since he opened his first restaurant in Boston in 1988. Lucky for Fitchburg, he and his family now share their flair for incredibly flavorful food at Haveli, welcoming diners since 2013.

Take a tour of Badwal’s Indian dishes at the lunch buffet. You’ll find a treasure trove of foods from all corners of India served by a friendly staff. From staples like chicken tikka masala to beef kabab, pork curry and fish pakora -- marinated in spices and lemon juice then deep fried. The buffet’s spectrum of Indian spices, flavors and colors can’t be beat.

Haveli offers a large dinner menu with more than 100 items, but the lunch buffet is the perfect place to graze on a wide variety of Indian food in a pleasant atmosphere where you’re welcomed like family.