In Black communities around the world, plant-based eating has been a part of traditions and cultures for centuries. Today, awareness of animal suffering, concerns for human health, and environmental issues are inspiring a new generation of Black leaders in the food industry to create real positive changes for animals, customers, and the planet.
Check out these Black-owned vegan restaurants, which prove that being vegan is not a “white thing”:
Azla Ethiopian/Vegan (Los Angeles)
The story of this restaurant is powerful. The children of its founder, chef Azla, chose a plant-based lifestyle over a decade ago, and she decided to begin modifying traditional recipes to please them, without sacrificing flavor or heartiness.
Cafe Organix (San Bernardino)
Cafe Organix is owned by NBA legend, proud vegan, and PETA pal John Salley, who says his restaurant is all about “well-seasoned and tasty vegan cuisine.” It will also carry frozen packaged goods, teas, and other delicious vegan products and will host regular community events.
Find everything from coffee and cinnamon rolls to tacos, Beyond Burgers, and more! pic.twitter.com/ncmrSmWoqx
— PETA (@peta) June 27, 2020
Compton Vegan (Los Angeles)
This vegan soul food pop-up and kitchen serves classics such as gumbo, mac and cheese, and fried “chicken” with sides of collard greens, baked beans, and cornbread.
Jackfruit Cafe (Los Angeles)
Actor Angela Means Kaaya serves up vegan soul food with Caribbean-inspired flavors at the Jackfruit Cafe.
Judahlicious Vegan Café & Juice Bar (San Francisco)
Healthy, raw, and vegan cuisine, smoothies, and juices are the focus of this Outer Sunset café.
Lettuce Feast (Los Angeles)
Lettuce Feast is a Los Angeles–based food truck serving vegan fried chicken sandwiches and tenders that are beyond compare.
Munchies Vegan Diner (Santa Ana)
Munchies’ brunch can’t be beat, with vegan omelettes, eggs Benedict, and the Santa Ana Slam.
Planet Vegan (Fresno)
Plant-based burgers, loaded waffle fries, and vegan mozzarella sticks are just a few things you can find at the Planet Vegan food truck.
Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine (Los Angeles)
After having owned a traditional Ethiopian restaurant, chef Rahel Woldmedhin made the decision to open a new establishment that offers her native cuisine with an all-vegan menu. Since going vegan, she has experienced renewed energy and improved health.
Rollin Roots (San Diego)
Rollin Roots is a food truck that takes inspiration from the flavors of the American South and combines them with fresh ingredients like hearts of palm, oyster mushrooms, and banana blossoms.
Souley Vegan (Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles)
Executive Chef Tamearra Dyson prepares Southern-style cuisine using locally sourced, non-GMO ingredients.
Stuff I Eat (Inglewood)
Fresh, natural, and 95 percent organic, this Los Angeles–area restaurant has been perfecting home-cooked vegan cuisine for over 15 years in an effort to promote health through better eating.
T&T Lifestyle (Los Angeles)
T&T Lifestyle serves casual vegan Ethiopian dishes with a twist—we recommend trying the Ethiopian tacos.
Vegan Mob (Oakland)
Toriano Gordon fuses vegan barbecue with his grandmother’s traditional soul food recipes at Vegan Mob.
Veg on the Edge (Santa Cruz)
Veg on the Edge serves West African–inspired fare like Ègúsí (pumpkin seed stew) and Shiitake Súyà Salad.
The VTree at Yamashiro (Los Angeles)
The VTree Hollywood is a collaboration between actor Nick Cannon and Chef Velvet that features vegan soul food like Cajun shrimp and African peanut stew.
Vurger Guyz (Los Angeles)
The Vurger Guyz food truck serves fast food–style vegan burgers made with Beyond Meat, tater tots, and street tacos.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
NuVegan Cafe (Washington, D.C.)
NuVegan’s mission is to “expose your taste buds to the undeniably refreshing and delicious nature of eating natural. Things that are made for the soul should not only nurture, but satisfy the soul.” Delicious dishes include Vegan Fried Steak, the Vegan Fish Sandwich, and Vegan Barbecue Roast with Rice, and it also offers a full brunch menu. Celebrities such as Smokey Robinson (below) and Common are often dropping in to dine.
Bobby’s Meals (Miami)
“You think smart, when you eat smart” is this restaurant’s motto, and if there’s one thing that we know, it’s that going vegan is super-smart.
Dajen Eats (Eatonville)
Dajen Eats’ menu includes customizable bowls with oil-free, air-fried vegan chicken, sandwiches on freshly baked Jamaican bread, and colorful salads.
This restaurant serves Jamaican meals and juices in a casual dining space.
The New Vegan (Delray Beach)
The New Vegan claims to be “the next generation of vegans showing people a new, innovative way of eating food filled with organic macro nutrients without the dependency of another life to do so.” And it’s famous for its falafel burger.
Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin (Miami)
This Caribbean-inspired restaurant serves up burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and so much more.
Life Bistro (Atlanta)
The goal of Life Bistro is to introduce vegan food to nonvegans by creating versions of classic American comfort food.
Lovely Vegan Kitchen (Atlanta)
This kitchen creates healthy, nutritious food and serves it up in creative ways, including with themed meals and buffets.
Lov’n It Live (East Point)
This restaurant’s website says, “We believe that our food is our medicine and we make it our heartfelt commitment never to compromise the quality of our food. Let Lov’n It Live take you to a world where good food is actually good for you! Come to visit us and experience our delicious, organic, living cuisine.”
Slutty Vegan (Atlanta)
Owner Pinky Cole started Slutty Vegan as a food truck before opening its first brick-and-mortar location, where it serves up vegan fried chicken sandwiches and plant-based burgers that are sure to satisfy.
Soul Vegetarian Restaurant No. 2 (Atlanta)
Feast your eyes on this plate of barbecued cauliflower, mac ‘n’ cheese, and collard greens from this restaurant:
Tassili’s Raw Reality (Atlanta)
Tassili’s offers a unique variety of raw entrées like spicy kale salad, kale wraps, and more.
Viva La Vegan (Atlanta)
Viva La Vegan offers a variety of healthy and hearty vegan fare, from raw wraps to fishless po’ boy sandwiches.
Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat (Chicago)
Vegan burgers, hoagies, nachos, and other comfort food favorites make up the menu at Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat.
Good Foods Health Center (Chicago)
Good Foods merges naturopathic health and vegan soul food with delicious results. Owned by Camilla Alfred, the deli and health food store also runs a community garden.
Majani Soulful Vegan Cuisine (Chicago)
Majani means “green” in Swahili, which is appropriate for this South Shore vegan restaurant that uses fresh ingredients from local urban gardens and farms.
Moon Meals (Chicago)
Moon Meals specializes in lunch and late night deliveries of at least 10 meals. Prepared meals are also sold in the “grab and go” section of select stores in the Chicago area.
Original Soul Vegetarian (Chicago)
For the past 30 years, this vegan restaurant has won the praise and consistent patronage of vegetarians and nonvegetarians alike.
The Land of Kush (Baltimore)
The Land of Kush provides for any diner looking for delicious, healthy food. Its website promises, “You won’t believe it’s veggie!”—and with one look at its Facebook photos, we believe it.
Order Your FREE Vegan Starter Kit
Belmont Vegetarian Restaurant (Worcester)
Despite its name, this restaurant is vegan—take one look at its colorful plates of whole, nutritious foods and you’ll be a convert.
Detroit Vegan Soul (Detroit)
This soul food restaurant, which CNN called “the shiniest rising star in the vegan world,” has two locations in the Detroit area. Popular dishes include the Seitan Pepper Steak, the “Catfish” Tofu, and the Smothered Tempeh.
Trio Plant-Based (Minneapolis)
Trio prides itself on being Minnesota’s first Black-owned vegan restaurant. Owner Louis Hunter opened it after spending two years in prison for protesting the death of his cousin Philando Castile.
Sweet Art (St. Louis)
Sweet Art creates indulgent vegan baked goods and serves a savory menu on weekends, including the Church Basement Plate, which comes with crispy cauliflower bites, mac and cheese, greens, black-eyed peas, and a sweet potato biscuit.
VegNation (St. Louis)
This restaurant and catering service offers more than 40 dishes, such as a Spicy Falafel Tray, Coconut Rice & Peas, Fried Plantains, and Thai Vegetarian Fried Rice.
Simply Pure (Las Vegas)
Vegan chef Stacey Dougan bases her creations on nutritious vegan foods that satisfy and help heal the body.
The owners of this café believe that a plant-based lifestyle detoxifies your body and spirit. We can’t say that we disagree. It offers many juice and smoothie options, along with Fried Zucchini Patties, Fried Mushrooms Nuggets, Mushroom Pie, and so much more.
How Delish HD (Jersey City)
Founder Laiquan Harvey-Davis opened her Jersey City bakery with the help of her two sons. After she went vegan, she modified her classic desserts to be dairy- and egg-free. In addition to vegan cheesecakes, brownies, ice cream cakes, and other sweet treats, How Delish HD offers a small deli menu.
Greedi Kitchen (New York)
Brooklyn native Latisha Daring created Greedi Kitchen’s menu with variety in mind, hoping to bring inspirational dishes to vegans and nonvegans alike.
Juices for Life (New York)
Owned by rappers Styles P and Jadakiss, Juices for Life brings fresh vegan juices and smoothies to Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Yonkers.
Seasoned Vegan (New York)
Seasoned Vegan is owned and operated by mother and son Brenda and Aaron Beener. Menu items include Lemon Crusted “Chicken” Nuggets, Pizza Quesadilla, a Po’Boy sandwich, and more.
Sol Sips (New York)
Francesca Chaney started Sol Sips with the goal of making plant-based food accessible to all—that’s why it offers sliding-scale brunches and free cooking classes.
Uptown Veg (New York)
Uptown Veg serves vegan mac and cheese, collard greens, and other healthy kinds of soul food along with fresh juices.
Urban Vegan Kitchen (New York)
Just like the city it’s in, Urban Vegan Kitchen offers food from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Here, you can start your meal with Korean BBQ Wings, enjoy a lasagna entrée, and finish it off with a Mississippi Mud Pie for dessert.
Veggie Castle (New York)
Veggie Castle serves Caribbean-inspired fare and fresh-squeezed juices at its locations in Brooklyn and Queens.
Vegan soul food is what Veltree is known for—chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and fresh cornbread are just some of the offerings.
House of Vegans (Harrisburg)
House of Vegans owners Laquana Barber and Stefan Hawkins started their business after experimenting in the kitchen and feeding their friends and family. Hawkins is a former McDonald’s employee who went vegan after seeing firsthand how the fast-food industry works. Their restaurant is the first Black-owned vegan restaurant in Harrisburg.
The Nile Cafe (Philadelphia)
This Philly spot, located in the heart of Germantown, serves up vegetarian and vegan soul food and baked goods and also sells purified water.
Nourishing and flavorful veggies and grains are the stars of every dish at this Trinidadian pop-up eatery.
UnSoul Food (Philadelphia)
UnSoul Food’s ancestral recipes are soul-food classics with an animal-friendly twist. Stop by for its award-winning vegan mac and cheese, juicy fried-seitan chicken, and so much more.
The Southern V (Nashville)
This bakery serves up soul food eats and sweet treats. What could be better than cruelty-free comfort food?
Two Vegan Sistas (Memphis)
This mostly raw restaurant offers No-Bake Blueberry Muffin Donut Holes, Lemon Cake, Cucumber/Squash and Tomato Salad, and more.
Bam’s Vegan (Dallas)
The Bam’s Vegan stand can be found at farmers markets in the Dallas area, serving up vegan nachos, brunch, soul food, and much more.
Green Seed Vegan (Houston)
This eatery and elixir bar serves fresh-pressed paninis, chlorophyll-rich live foods, cold-pressed juices, and immune-boosting fruit blends (aka “smoothies”).
Chef James McGee and his wife opened Peace.Love.&Eatz after finding that there weren’t a lot of vegan food options in their area. The restaurant sells juice, smoothies, and smoothie bowls and also hosts weekly pop-up menus with burgers, sandwiches, nachos, and more.
Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food (Austin)
Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food is a food truck that sells soul food classics like vegan fried pork chop sandwiches and Cajun mac and cheese.
The Soulgood food truck has a rotating daily menu as well as catering, a vegan bakery, and virtual cooking classes.
Sunshine’s Vegetarian Deli (Houston)
Menu items at this 100 percent plant-powered deli include a Soy Chicken Burger, Egg Plant Lasagna, a Spicy Black Bean Burger, and more.
‘Tastes Like Chicken’ Vegan Kitchen (Garland)
Chef Troy Gardner brings years of vegan culinary training to his menu, which includes chicken fried steak and pizzas made with homemade cashew mozzarella.
Vegan Food House (Dallas)
Vegan croque madame?! Vegan Food House in Dallas has it, plus delicious Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, shrimp pesto tacos, and even a mac and cheese–stuffed Beyond Burger.
Vegan Vibrationz (Dallas)
A regular weekend vendor at the Dallas Farmers Market, Vegan Vibrationz is known for its Vegan Crunchwraps and Oyster Mushroom Po’boys. If you’re lucky, you can also try a vegan Snickers bar.
Beyond Vegan Cell Food (Portsmouth)
Beyond Vegan serves sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and salads along with superfood-packed smoothies, juices, and teas. Try the Chicken Waffle Sandwich with some antioxidant-packed elderberry tea.
Senses Vegan (Norfolk)
This comfort food spot serves up satisfying eats like its Crab Cake Sandwich, Philly Steak and Cheese, and Shrimp Po Boy—all of which are animal-free.
Plum Bistro (Seattle)
This bistro aims to make plant-based eating “accessible to everyone—not just through our chefs making delicious food, but also through incorporating our generation’s forward-thinking beliefs and style into everything we do.”
Twisted Plants (Milwaukee)
After a year of operating out of a food truck, Twisted Plants owners Arielle and Brandon Hawthorne have settled down in a brick-and-mortar location in Milwaukee.
This piece was adapted with permission from RankTribe.