Asheville Wins Top Spot on PETA’s ‘Vegan-Friendly Cities’ List

For Immediate Release:
December 15, 2020

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Asheville, N.C. – The results are in for PETA’s 2020 ranking of the Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Small Cities in the U.S., and Asheville’s vegan festivals and food—including its more than 110 vegan-friendly restaurants—landed it the number one spot on the list. In recognition, PETA has sent an award certificate to Mayor Esther E. Manheimer.

For many years, PETA has named the most vegan-friendly big cities in the U.S. This year, as so many people are migrating to smaller cities in the midst of COVID-19, PETA has shifted its sights, too, and has picked the country’s top 10 most vegan-friendly small cities.

“The small cities on PETA’s list are big hot spots for the delicious animal-friendly cuisine that today’s diners demand,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Whether you’re looking to spend an entire week celebrating vegan food or just need a beer and a burger, Asheville’s got you covered.”

Asheville has celebrated vegan dining with its Vegan Awareness Week (in August and September) and its annual Veganfest. Its many standout vegan-friendly eateries include Asheville Brewing Company—where dinners can find vegan cheese and cauliflower bites, a house-made sweet pea spinach burger, and more—and Nine Mile, whose popular Back-A-Yard Bowl comes with a Beyond Meat brat or tofu, rice, beans, and veggies, all doused in a Caribbean chimichurri sauce. There’s also Black Bear BBQ for BBQ Jackfruit, Plant for upscale vegan dining, and Vortex Doughnuts and The Hop Ice Cream Café for sweet treats. Unique to Asheville are Zen Ink, a vegan tattoo parlor, and No Evil Foods, which ships its delicious vegan meats nationwide.

The number of vegan Americans has increased by 600% in just three years, according to research firm GlobalData. Each person who goes vegan prevents nearly 200 animals a year from enduring daily suffering and a terrifying death; dramatically shrinks their carbon footprint; reduces their risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes; and helps prevent future pandemics. SARS, swine flu, bird flu, and COVID-19 all stemmed from confining or killing animals for food.

Rounding out PETA’s list are Dayton, Ohio; Frederick, Maryland; Tacoma, Washington; Boise, Idaho; San Marcos, Texas; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Bend, Oregon; and Bisbee, Arizona.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind