Do you remember the first time you went to an all-vegan restaurant and could order anything off the menu? Pure heaven! From casual dining chains and award-winning food trucks to upscale restaurants and even greasy-spoon diners, there is so much vegan goodness to indulge in. You should know that the number of all-vegan restaurants is growing exponentially. Great! “So where are all these vegan restaurants near me?” Let’s find out!
Are There Any Vegan Restaurants Near Me?
Depending on where you live, you may have a plethora of vegan restaurants or slim-pickings. There are a few websites that compile them into lists, but among them one stands out as the most comprehensive: HappyCow.
HappyCow is an incredibly useful website that all hungry vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians should check out. Basically a Yelp for vegans, this site features over 40,000 listings and is searchable by location and type of restaurant (i.e. vegan, vegetarian, veg-friendly). They also include health food stores, farmer’s markets, grab & go counters and other edible establishments. Did I mention its international? That’s right, if you ever find yourself in Capetown, South Africa don’t you worry — The Hungry Herbivore is just one place that has you covered.
HappyCow encourages users to review and add restaurants so the listings are ever-growing and up to date. In fact, 241 new venues were listed in the past week alone. Maybe next week there will be a new listing in your neck of the woods! The free app is great for on-the-go, and available for both iPhone and Android.
Another way to get the dish on plant-based plates is to ask the locals! Find a local or state-based vegan or vegetarian group on social media and ask for recommendations. This is a great way to get the inside scoop, especially on up-and-coming places or restaurants that don’t advertise their vegan options well.
Nothing but Steakhouses and Fast-Food Chains
Maybe you live where carnism and fried foods still have a stronghold over all the food joints in town. Or perhaps your home is in the middle of nowhere and restaurants in general are few and far between. If that’s the case, you may be a ways off from having all-vegan eats in your hometown, but you’re not entirely out of options.
Vegans can find something to eat at nearly any restaurant. Even the most animal-laden menus will have sides or salads that can be easily altered to surpass your expectations. Better yet, a brief query to the chef or owner can lead to a vegan-friendly dish made especially for you. Restaurateurs know that if one person’s dietary needs aren’t met, the party will likely choose another restaurant next time. Even fast-food joints are getting with the program!
If it’s vegan company you seek while you eat, consider joining (or starting) a vegan dinner group. Meetup.com has plant-based supper groups where members try out a new recipe together, or share various dishes potluck-style. It’s not the same as having an entire menu of vegan options, but it’s a start and will help you keep your sanity as a vegan among meat-eaters.
The Future Is Vegan
Without a doubt, now is a great time to be vegan and the future looks even brighter. Not only are new vegan businesses popping up and going mainstream, but even restaurants that used to serve meat and dairy are making the switch.
NYC restaurateur Ravi DeRossi has plans to convert his 15 restaurants and bars into plant-based venues, starting with Mother of Pearl which went meat-free last month. DeRossi said he wanted to “be more productive” to reduce his strain on the environment and contributions to animal suffering. But DeRossi isn’t the first to do so. After watching Cowspiracy, a Mexican place in Texas called La Blue Casa decided to go vegan as well. Sure, the vegan food market is especially succulent right now, but its refreshing to see that monetary gain is not the motivation for these business owners.
Whether HappyCow shows you dozens of local results, or barely a handful, know that our reach is unfolding further and further every day. Before we know it, vegan restaurants will be mainstream. We already know that veganism is more than just a diet, more than a trend. And that notion is finally catching on with the rest of the world.