Detroit is a city of grit—it’s tough, DIY, and probably not the first place that comes to mind when you think of vegan food, but we’re about to make a pretty solid argument that it should be. It’s full of hardworking people who are opening up restaurants and businesses, creating art, running urban farms, and thinking outside the box—and that’s where a vegan lifestyle comes in.
From vegan doughnuts to delicious ramen, Detroit’s got it all, including a seriously on-point soul food joint loved by locals and celebrities alike. Here are some vegan hot spots in the Motor City:
Three words: “catfish” tofu sandwich. Three more words: fried buffalo bites. Mmmm. Motivated by the campaign for food justice, Detroit Vegan Soul is owned by wife-and-wife team Kirsten and Erika, who strive to bring healthy, delicious soul food to the masses. Stevie Wonder ate here—that should pretty much sign, seal, and deliver the message that this place is cool.
While the eatery originated in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Seva opened a Detroit location a few years ago and has been serving delicious vegan food ever since.
Uncle Herm (the uncle of late Detroit rapper J Dilla) pours his heart and soul into his organic doughnuts—and he offers several vegan flavors every day in his hip-hop–inspired downtown shop.
Avalon’s motto is “Eat well. Do good.” The company values its employees, community, and the Earth and, as such, offers up tons of vegan goodies, including monkey bread, cookies, brownies, breads, sandwiches, and more.
Banana-walnut pancakes, tofu scramble, poutine, spicy-tofu sandwiches … yum, yum, yum, and yum.
Buddy’s Detroit-style pizza is the stuff of legends—and it’s easy to veganize. Top any pizza with Daiya cheese and you’ll be set to pile on the herbs and veggies. Pro tip: Get the Buddy Bread plain with a side of pizza sauce.
Voted the best place to read a good book and drink soy lavender lattes by … us, this place is a must-stop in the city. The tempeh bánh mì is what vegan dreams are made of.
It gets cold in the D, so you might need Johnny Noodle King’s miso ramen to warm you up.
Do we need any words when we have this picture? Just look at it.
Pie-Sci quickly won the heart of every vegan pizza lover in the city. It rotates special pizzas seasonally, like a nacho pizza topped with vegan queso, beef-free crumble, black beans, jalapeños, shredded romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, white onion, chili-lime chips, and vegan adobo sour cream drizzle and you can veganize almost anything on Pie-Sci’s menu with vegan meats and cheeses.
A beloved dive bar where you can always catch a local band serving up some serious soul, PJ’s serves even more serious vegan food options—including homemade spicy queso, tempeh Reuben sandwiches, vegan chili, and a vegan po’ boy.
Who said salads have to be boring? Top your make-your-own bowl with roasted tofu, hummus, tabbouleh, and pomegranate sumac dressing; vegan taco meat, black beans, and corn; or toasted ramen, tofu, edamame, and Sriracha—or any of the many other crazy-good options from the menu.
Give us all the udon, pho, and ramen. And chili-lemon edamame. And tofu tacos.
Detroit’s (and the world’s?) very first vegan Coney Island serves up what any Detroiter would come to expect: Coney dogs smothered with chili, mustard, and onions (hence the name); gyros with perfectly seasoned seitan; a Big Mock; and—get ready for it—Southwest Detroit Nachos. They’re waffle fries covered with house-made “cheese,” lime “sour cream,” vegan chicken, and pico de gallo. You can’t go wrong with any item on the menu.
This 100% vegan food truck is everything. Rocky’s sets up in southwest Detroit and offers cheap, delicious, and healthy tacos that are full of flavor, including vegan beef, fried chicken–style tofu, al pastor, fried avocado, black bean, and veggie tacos topped with kale slaw and chili sauce. The truck also offers vegan smoothies, coffee, frappés with non-dairy whipped cream, and more.
This pop-up is famous across the country, having spread its unique take on fast-food and comfort-food faves to Los Angeles and other cities. If you can brave the lines, Street Beet’s Taco Hell, Kentucky Fake Chicken, and McDaddy’s pop-ups offer dishes like the walnut-meat and house-made queso Crunchywrap, Filet NO Fish sandwiches, and Instagrammable vegan mac and cheese, fried “chicken,” and mashed potato cones. Yes, cones.
Cold Truth’s ice cream window is heaven in the hot Midwestern summer—and the company plans to open a shop in Midtown soon. Our fave? The vegan blueberry bar with chocolate dip and strawberry dust.
This stop—technically in Hamtramck—offers vegan versions of Eastern European faves like potato latkes as well as other dishes such as vegan mac and cheese, carrot dogs, and its one-of-a-kind beet Rueben. Catch Nosh Pit on the go at Detroit-area events with its busy food truck.
This east-side Caribbean restaurant has a vegan section on its menu, including delicious dishes like a potato curry, plantains, and pelau, a “blend of jasmine rice, house seasoning, squash, pigeon peas, and peppers baked to a golden brown.”
Detroit is known for its hot dogs—and luckily, vegan versions are poppin’ up all over, including at UFO Factory’s Laika Dog kitchen. Get ready—its vegan hot dogs are out of this world. 😉 Munch on vegan nacho-cheese hot dogs, waffle dogs, and crispy tater tots in one of the coolest bars in the city.
This Michigan-based coffee shop has locations all over the state and tons of vegan options. Most of its clear syrups are vegan—just ask at the counter. It also offers soy, almond, oat, and coconut milk.
This busy brunch mecca in Corktown (with locations in the suburbs, too) offers vegan Beyond Sausage, the Uncle Jessie (hash with “sausage,” potatoes, peppers, and vegan cheese), Vegan Sausage Marinara, Vegan Tacos, and more.
This Greektown mainstay added a vegan menu not too long ago and has been changing the game in Downtown Detroit ever since. Rueben egg rolls, vegan nachos, Beyond Meat shepherd’s pie, cashew Alfredo, and a mushroom French dip are just a few of the options on its growing menu.
Vegan cakes and vegan macarons! Do we have your attention yet? And these aren’t just any vegan cakes—we’re talking elaborate, moist, delicious ones in flavors such as Birthday Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Cardamom, Double “Matilda” Chocolate, and more. For the Love of Sugar rotates vegan flavors of cake by the slice and macarons each day, so you’ll just have to visit every day. 😉
Three words: deep-fried smoked tofu. Use it to replace meat in any burrito, bowl, or taco, and skip cheese and sour cream in favor of mango salsa or any of Calexico’s other delicious veggie toppings. The beans and rice are vegan, too.
In the ‘Burbs
In a world full of Beyond Burgers, Unburger Grill stands out! The restaurant makes its own patties—ranging from ones full of veggies like sweet potato and zucchini to the Ultimate patty, which is meat-like and awesome. Unburger make its own creamy “cheese” sauce that you can top any burger with and offers many delicious sides, like chili “cheese” fries and Brussel Sprout and Red Potato Hash with ranch drizzle.
Have you dreamt of vegan almond chicken? Vegan beef and broccoli? What about vegan hot and sour soup or scallion pancakes? Your dreams can come true at Red Star—which can replace almost any meat in a dish with a vegan version. This Dearborn mainstay knows how to veganize its most popular dishes and offers tons of tofu-based ones, too.
Chive Kitchen in Farmington Hills—boasts a fun and creative menu of new takes on Michigan classics, including vegan chili-cheese fries, patty melts, chili dogs, and more.
The perfect date night starts here! GreenSpace in Ferndale—opened by a vegan cardiologist who’s passionate about health and plant-based food—has an upscale menu that features everything from macrobiotic bowls with kimchi (yum) and stuffed avocados to pizzas, burritos, and more. Greenspace & Go in nearby Royal Oak serves up mac and cheese, smoothies, noodle bowls, and more!
Inn Season Café
Inn Season in Royal Oak is one of the originators of the plant-based food movement in Metro Detroit, serving classics such as a cashew-ginger stir-fry, The Big Baprawski—its take on a Big Mac—decadent chocolate cake with raspberry drizzle, and lots more.
This donut shop, with locations in Southfield and Troy, offers up vegan options daily.
This picture speaks for itself, right?
Hippies in Royal Oak not only delivers vegan pizzas with meat-free pepperoni and Daiya cheese but also offers a variety of vegan appetizers and desserts—including cinnamon banana bread and cherry bombs. You had us at vegan breadsticks, Hippies.
The Lunch Room
You’ll have to trek out to Ann Arbor for this 100% vegan spot—but it’s worth it! Two locations there serve luscious sweet treats, including Mexican hot-chocolate cookies, and chai scones. Plus, check out the regular and brunch menus for dishes such as the chili mac, burritos, pancakes, and more.
Owned by the same folks as The Lunch Room, this busy cafe offers up taco salads, buffalo cauliflower wings, tater tot breakfast bowls, soul food bowls, and way, way more. Just go here!
Brunch is a big deal everywhere, but Ferndale’s The Fly Trap does it right for vegans—serving tofu scramble hash, vegan gingerbread waffles, and a tempting tempeh sandwich. It also offers tofu in any of the noodle dishes, including the Fire-Breathing Dragon sambal peanut sauce noodle bowl and the Lemongrass Faux Bowl.
Big League Brews
This Downriver sports bar may not be where you’d expect to find some of the most delicious vegan food, but get ready for the (Pre)tenders, its house-made vegan chicken tenders, which you can toss with sauce or get on nachos. Mmm.
This burrito joint in Grosse Pointe Woods offers not only tofu for its burritos, nachos, tacos, and more but also Beyond Meat chicken, vegan sour cream, and other scrumptious options. The owner also owns nearby Lunchbox Deli, which serves tofu wraps and Beyond Meat’s burgers and sausages. Yum!
Anna’s House has locations in several Metro Detroit suburbs, including Farmington Hills and Ann Arbor, and boasts vegan pancakes, French toast, scrambles, and more.
Pop’s for Italian can easily veganize many dishes on its menu—and makes a special cashew Alfredo to top its gluten-free and vegan linguine and penne. Add broccolini, tomatoes, artichokes, or other veggies for an extra kick.
This drool-worthy photo speaks for itself. Make sure to ask for Ale Mary’s vegan menu which boasts vegan chicken and waffles, Beyond burgers, buffalo cauliflower wings, penne pasta, and more.
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