Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Cities of 2016


You can get tasty vegan meals almost anywhere today, which is why 2016 is #TheYearOfVegan. We’ve scoured the country and selected the most vegan-friendly cities. Did your favorite city make the cut?

1. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon. Photo credit: Michael Silberstein / Flickr

This year, Portland, Oregon, takes the top spot on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) list, thanks in part to its array of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants. For example, Back to Eden Bakery serves up egg- and dairy-free baked goods and ice cream sundaes. Vtopian Cheese Shop & Deli offers more than 20 vegan artisan cheeses, plus vegan pepperoni melts, paninis and cheesecake. Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ features meat-free barbecue and cheesesteak subs, tempeh ribs and Mac No-Cheese. Portobello Vegan Trattoria prepares lobster mushroom potato cakes, ravioli, tiramisu and house-made coconut ice cream—all-vegan, of course. Petunia’s Pies & Pastries serves everything from vegan biscuits and gravy and Belgian waffles to blue corn tacos and vegan grilled cheese. Even Portland’s iconic Voodoo Doughnut now offers vegan doughnuts.

In addition to many meat-free restaurants, Portland’s all-vegan enterprises include a bed and breakfast, a summer camp, a punk-metal bar, a strip mall, a tattoo shop and even a strip club for those seeking a bit more excitement!

And that’s not all. It’s fairly easy to find vegan family medical practitioners, vegan counselors, vegan real-estate agents and other lifestyle services offered by vegans in Portland.

2. Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles. Photo credit: Jeremy Miles / Flickr

The City of Angels has more listings on HappyCow—a website that lists regional vegan and vegan-friendly eateries and events—than any other U.S. city. LA is home not only to an animal rights–related museum but also to PETA’s West Coast headquarters, so you can rest assured that the vegan options have been thoroughly, um, tested.

Crossroads is a star-studded vegan restaurant that serves mouthwatering fare, including Scaloppini Marsala and artichoke oysters, prepared by celebrity chef Tal Ronnen. PETA’s pal Moby recently opened little pine, a Mediterranean-inspired vegan restaurant and donates a portion of proceeds to support our work. Gracias Madre, eLOVate Vegan Kitchen & Juicery, Ramen Hood and Sage Organic Vegan Bistro are just a handful of other popular vegan eateries in the city. Locals also love Mohawk Bend, where all menu items are vegan unless marked “NV” for “not vegan”; the all-vegan Japanese restaurant Shojin; and Spork Foods, a vegan food company and culinary school that conducts cooking demonstrations and in-home teaching. It also provides vegan culinary services, as does Veggie Fixation.

Looking for vegan guilty pleasures? Stop by Donut Friend, which offers a wide variety of unique vegan doughnuts and vegan fillings, such as coconut cream, cream cheese and more. Erin McKenna’s Bakery LA, Scoops and Donut Farm are just a few others that offer mouthwatering vegan desserts. Anyone looking for late-night vegan cheeseburgers and chili cheese fries can head over to Doomie’s Home Cookin’.

It would take ages to mention all the vegan-friendly spots in the city, but BuzzFeed’s “21 Vegan Places in Los Angeles That’ll Make You Want Seconds” should help convince you that vegan options abound in LA.

3. New York City

New York City Skyline. Photo credit: Mr Hicks46 / Flickr

Is it any surprise that the Big Apple made the list again this year? In 2014, PETA named the city the most vegan-friendly spot in the nation and actor Alan Cumming presented the mayor with a sculpture of the New York skyline made entirely of vegetables.

In addition to Candle 79, Blossom and the other restaurants mentioned in PETA’s 2013 list of top vegan-friendly cities, there is by CHLOE, a vegan restaurant featuring locally obtained ingredients and Franchia Vegan Cafe, which is one of the best Asian-fusion restaurants in the country. VSPOT, which has a location right next to New York University, serves scrumptious Latin fare and Blossom du Jour, V Burger, VLife and Terri have locations throughout the city where diners can get an inexpensive and delicious vegan lunch.

Plant-based eating has become so popular that famed restaurant owner Ravi DeRossi is making his 15 bars and restaurants vegan! Vegan pop-ups appear throughout the city as chefs rent out locations to try cutting-edge new vegan fare. New York City has a plethora of animal advocates who routinely speak out against horse-drawn carriages, fur and using animals for food. There’s even a Veggie Pride Parade each April.

4. Detroit

Detroit Skyline. Photo credit: Haljackey / Flickr

Detroit is going through a revitalization and vegans are being welcomed with open arms. Residents rave about Detroit Vegan Soul, which offers mac and “cheese,” “catfish” tofu, barbecue tofu sandwiches, collard greens and okra stew, among other vegan dishes. Seva serves vegan buffalo tempeh wings and Thai noodles. Whether you live in this former “meat and potatoes town” or are just passing through, be sure to check out these noteworthy vegan-friendly spots:

  • Russell St. Deli offers vegan options, including a TLT—a tofu, lettuce and tomato sandwich with house-made vegan mayo. Brooklyn Street Local has a vegan Reuben with house-made seitan and vegan poutine (a Canadian dish that’s typically made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy).
  • Detroit is known for its bar scene, so we have to mention that dive bars and fancier establishments alike are offering up delicious fare—like beloved PJ’s Lager House, which offers up vegan fried pickles, veggie burritos with spicy vegan queso and po’ boys. And popular bars Jolly Pumpkin, HopCat, Green Dot Stables and others have vegan options.
  • Nearby Om Café serves a Quinoa Protein Salad and Loaded Vegan Mac and Chive Kitchen focuses on fresh and local products.
  • You can get sweet potato–black bean chili and vegan nachos at the Shimmy Shack, among other yummy dishes and the Mac Shack will make mac ‘n’ cheese and French fries with vegan cheese sauce, upon request.
  • Avalon International Breads offers several vegan items, including savory sweet potato bánh mì sandwiches; a variety of vegan muffins; and more.

5. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville. Photo credit: John Beasley / Flickr

Nashville, Tennessee, is perhaps best known for country music and vegan country star Carrie Underwood has helped put vegan living on the map. It’s now easier than it’s ever been to find vegan options in the Grand Ole Opry state, which is why Nashville is on our list for the first time. You can find vegan offerings everywhere, from Vegan Vee bakery to Avo, a new vegan restaurant that offers vegan wine and tree nut cheeses. Coco Greens café went from vegetarian to vegan in 2014 and the ever-popular vegan-friendly Sunflower Vegetarian Cafe has “more vegan and gluten-free options than you can shake a stick at!” Frothy Monkey lists tofu as a meat, The Urban Juicer is one of the many spots offering almond and soy milk and Mad Donna’s offers a vegan black-bean burger.

You can get vegan cheese pizza at many pizza places, including Five Points Pizza, Mellow Mushroom and Two Boots. You can find vegan offerings at other restaurants, too. Bagel Face Bakery offers agave and vegan sausage. The Post East offers a chickpea salad sandwich, vegan Caesar salad, buffalo-style tofu and vegan ranch dressing. Sloco serves a vegan meatball sub and a seitan sandwich. And MyVeggieChef is Nashville’s popular plant-based meal-delivery service.

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