Whether you live on the east coast or are planning on visiting, for plant-based eaters finding a quality vegan-friendly restaurant is a must and oftentimes a perceived challenge.
Yet, there are vegan eateries and vegan menus popping up everywhere!
Nestled deep within the beautiful historic enclaves that clutter the eastern seaboard, springing up within well-established venues, or taking over newly renovated spaces, vegan restaurants, cafes, and recipes are becoming a revitalizing force to be reckoned with. Many restauranteurs, entrepreneurs, and innovators have begun to look at plant-based cuisine as a way to infuse traditional recipes with life, vitality, health, and opportunity.
Looking to get your hands on some brand new vegan cuisine? Here’s a guide to help you get started!
1. North 43 Bistro, Portland, Maine
When you hear Portland, your mind may go automatically that blustery, cloudy, blindingly liberal city on the west coast, yet this time we’re talking about the other Portland. This one’s located as far east as you can go, specifically Maine. North 43 Bistro, a beautiful fine dining establishment posted out at the edge of the water in Southern Maine, is one of the latest east coast restaurants to dabble their toes in vegan recipes. While their doors opened in June 2018 with vegetarian selections, in February of this year North 43 Bistro began to add vegan options.
Stated on the Central Maine news site:
“In February, [North 43 Bistro] did a vegan shepherd’s pie served in an oval crock … It was bubbly and juicy with parsnips and celery root on top. We had a lot of non-vegan people have that. We also have hardcore vegans that come in. We have families that are all vegan.”
2. Street Beet, Detroit, Michigan
Alright, so Detroit isn’t technically east coast, but I couldn’t leave this one of the list due to the company’s unique rise as a cult classic-restaurant throughout the city! In fact, this little pop up is being called a vegan sensation. Street Beet, owned and operated by Nina Paletta and Meghan Shaw, also the creators behind vegan outfits such as Taco Hell, Kentucky Fake Chicken, Pizza Butt, and McDaddy’s, is a Detroit-based eatery offering 100 percent vegan.
“We provide healthier, earth-friendly and cruelty-free versions of comfort foods by taking your favorites and recreating them thoughtfully from plant-based ingredients. We strive to provide allergen-friendly options with a heavy focus on gluten-free items. Our goal is to be approachable to people of all diets and to make vegan food fun for everyone.”
Starting on the 15th of November, Street Beet will provide a pop-up vegan experience at 3rd Street Bar serving “vegan and gluten-free Kentucky Fake Chicken items” featuring a variety of vegan-friendly alternatives such as “fake chicken sandwiches with pickles and aioli on a brioche bun, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, cashew macaroni and cheez, and fake chicken buckets with ranch or barbecue dipping sauce.” Check out their website for specific times and menu info!
3. Honeysuckle Gelato, Charlotte, North Carolina
Do you live in either Charlotte, North Carolina? Looking for a new ice cream joint with a vegan option? Look no further than Honeysuckle Gelato located in Optimist Hall in Charlotte, North Carolina. This popular little ice cream joint just recently announced that they’ll be offering patrons a delightfully special vegan ice cream option flavored called Chocolate Raspberry Swirl. Sound good? Yes, indeed!
While Honeysuckle Gelato is not a 100 percent vegan establishment, they do support a great cause believing that a “joyful world is a kinder world and we intend to use gelato to create delicious ripples of change.” In this vein, the company partners with charitable foundations such as the Feeding America Network food banks, in which they “donate 5 [percent] of companywide profits,” meeting over 200,000 donated meals “to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.”
4. Queen City Grounds, Charlotte, North Carolina
Another Charlotte-based eatery, Queen City Grounds, is also tagging on to the vegan bandwagon and, as of November 1st, is debuting their first vegan coffee drink — the Nitro Caramel Latte with oat milk. This super low-key, yet trendy coffee shop specializes in small-batch, artisan coffee guaranteeing their patrons the freshest of beans and the highest quality of coffee flavor. Plus, this little coffee shop offers a wide variety of vegan foods options — such as vegan mozzarella, a tofu-based banh mi sandwich, and veganized “beef” chili, to name just a few — making this a great stop for any vegan on the go or looking for a comfy place to work, read, or simply enjoy a great vegan cup o’ joe!
5. 4 Rivers Smokehouse, Central, Florida
When I stumbled across a smokehouse, I had my doubts about including it on this list. Yet, after a few moments of consideration, I decided that taking note of any meat-based restaurant taking a chance on a vegan alternative item is worth noting. Especially in the case of this Florida-based, multi-chain smokehouse.
And that’s exactly what 4 Rivers Smokehouse, a Florida-based barbecue and smokehouse chain, decided to do with their menu — take a chance on a vegan recipe.
Like many long-standing fast-food chains, 4 Rivers Smokehouse has decided to partner up with Beyond Meat to introduce an alternative vegan item on their menu. Starting in November of 2019, 4 Rivers Smokehouse will begin offering Beyond Meat-based Beyond Burnt Ends. 4 Rivers doesn’t stop there either! For this BBQ chain, this is just the beginning, as they look to the future to launch a complete Beyond BBQ vegan line.
As a plant-based, zero-dairy, zero-meat eater did you ever think you’d have an opportunity to enjoy original deep dish pizza veganized?
Well, as of this past October, you can!
The originator of the deep-dish pizza, Uno Pizzeria & Grill, based in Chicago and with locations spanning the eastern seaboard (and a few creeping into the west) has launched not just a vegan pizza, but an entire vegan menu. Announced in an article in VegNews, this “iconic chain’s new ‘Love All, Feed All’ menu features a variety of vegan cheese pizzas, salads, and a classic Beyond Burger.” Along with using Beyond Burger plant-based meatless meat, Uno Pizzeria & Grill will also be pairing with Daiya Foods for that deliciously creamy vegan cheese. This supplemental menu will feature “five options: two salads, two pizzas, and one burger.”
So, go get your vegan deep-dish pizza on!
7. VegFest New Jersey Vegan Food Festival, New Jersey
Just in time for Thanksgiving, the VegFest Vegan Food Festival is coming to New Jersey!
Now, I know what you’re thinking, this isn’t a restaurant and there isn’t a single menu. Well, I’m breaking the rules on this one because this is even better! The VegFest offers a complementary plethora of vegan restaurants, eateries, and vegan product suppliers and, even more, an elaborate span of vegan foods and offerings.
Plus, it’s a great cause to support as Veg Fest is a countrywide event that helps inspire many meat-eaters to consider a more plant-based lifestyle.
Held at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, New Jersey the weekend of November 16th and 17th, the VegFest Vegan Food Festival will have 100 vendors spanning from vegan foods, products, and clothing. The event is backed by Sprout Everywhere, “a group dedicated to making New Jersey a more compassionate, healthier and happier place through sustainable living.” Want a taste of what will be at the festival? One sampling that will make your mouth water is the barbecue pizza made with pulled jackfruit.
But that’s just one of 100! Start planning your vegan-friendly Thanksgiving dinner with the newest offerings at VegFest.
8. Hangry Herbivore, Marshall, Michigan
Okay, okay … I’m creeping a little more west than “Eastcoast” implies, but the story of this teeny tiny little vegan cafe was too wonderful to pass up!
In the small town of Marshall, Michigan (around 7,000 peeps as of 2017), east of Detroit, lives a teeny tiny vegan cafe called the Hangry Herbivore. This vegan-friendly cafe just recently opened its doors as of September 1st, by founder and owner Lakota Fradette. It’s not the size or location of the cafe that gains its sitting on this list, but the story behind its inspiration and launch.
It’s a similar story that many of us have heard, yet the path is somewhat different.
After a visit with her doctor, Fradette was diagnosed with high cholesterol (sound similar?). Instead of switching to cholesterol mitigating mediations, Fradette decided to change her entire lifestyle and go vegan. Two years later, after mastering the art of vegan cooking (and simply have a natural knack for it), Fradette’s vegan recipes were so tasty and desireable that she decided to share them with her community and open the Hangry Herbivore. This pre-packaged vegan foodservice offers 100 percent plant-based foods along with a variety of raw food options, which are prepared in easy-to-carry-out boxes and sold from the counter of the Outside the Box Functional Medicine and Wellness Café. Talk about a perfect partnership!
While Fradette doesn’t have her own sales counter or storefront just yet, you can follow the Hangry Herbivore on Facebook and order via phone.
9. Love Earth Cafe, Staten Island, New York
Are you a Staten Island native looking for the newest vegan eatery? Take a chance on the brand-spankin’ new Love Earth Cafe located in Richmond Valley.
Founded, owned, and operated by a trio of entrepreneurs — Renee Raia, Anthony Gerardi, and Danielle DiLillo — Love Earth Cafe is the Richmond Valley’s — a small borough of Staten Island — “first and only dedicated vegan eatery” that offers exclusively vegan fresh foods. What will you find on the menu? Blended beverages such as the Miracle Red Juice — “beets, carrots, apples, celery, limes and ginger” — or their Anti Cancer “elixir — cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, and lemons.” Plus, in the bakery department, Love Earth offers guaranteed “gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and egg-free” baked goods based upon zero-honey (can vegans say yes please!) and organic sugar that is free of animal bone char.
Bareburger, a somewhat exotic meat eatery that has served unique patties made of ostrich and bison, is taking a turn of spirit and heart by completely halving their menu between meat and vegan options.
This, my plant-based friends, is a BIG deal!
While Bareburger locations are relegated to the eastern seaboard with locations spanning down the water from New York to Georgia and even inching west into Ohio (and a few international locations), there are quite a few, 47 in fact. By splitting their menu down the middle with a variety of vegan options, they are taking a huge stance on cutting their company’s meat consumption and inspiring others to try a plant-based pattie in lieu of meat.
Plus, the vegan options are delightful and expansive!
They offer multiple varieties of both the Impossible Patty and the Beyond Meat Patty. If these aren’t your jam, they also offer fully plant-based options, such as the gluten-free Farmstead — sweet potato, kale, and wild rice patty — as well as the quinoa and chia-based Rambler or the black bean and roasted corn-based Guadalupe.
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