I had heard rumors of the cult following of students that gather at Espresso 22, but had always passed it by in the past, expecting typical coffee-shop fare. However, I stopped in today and was amazing surprised! A man who I assume is the owner greeted me at the counter and informed me that almost everything he had that day was vegan (I'm assuming everything besides the obviously non-vegetarian sandwiches). Then, after asking if I was vegan, he told me he had just created a new vegan veggie burger and had made one for himself, but he'd gladly let me have it if I liked it. He gave me a sample and then proceeded to create a wonderful (and huge--we're talking hoagie-sized here!) sandwich for me out of the veggie burger. Plus, he only charged me $5, which is nothing considering how big (and delicious!) it was. As I sat and ate my sandwich, the owner came over to check on me and then proceeded around the room, stopping at several tables to chat with the students, who I assume are regulars. I can definitely see now how this spot is the well-kept secret of Dinkytown--they may not have many options (like a typical coffeeshop), but they make up for it with the great atmosphere and their vegan options! Great place...definitely check it out, and I guarantee that you will leave a happy customer with plans to return!
Update: So I did return to Espresso22, about a week later, and wasn't such a happy customer. I was craving the vegan veggie burger again, but the owner had not yet put it on the menu. He instead offered me a falafel sandwich, and I again reminded him that I am vegan (he didn't even remember that I had been in a week earlier). However, when he brought it out to me, it was slathered with yogurt sauce. Before giving it to me, he asked, "You aren't vegan, are you?" He ended up wrapping it back up and making me a new one, but I was still very disappointed with the service. The falafel tasted similar to the veggie burger, and the sandwich was just a good (and as big!) as before, but the hit-or-miss service is something to consider before going.