As a traveler that has visited over 50 countries it is easy to see why others view the United States as having an over the top, voracious appetite for meat. We are a country known for putting a McDonald’s on every corner throughout the world. The United States also takes excess, waste, and a lack of empathy to a new level with nationally televised hot dog eating contests. Think about the absurdity of a grown man or women eating dozens of hot dogs when animals are slaughtered, and people starve to death daily. Here is the good news: vegetarianism and veganism is on the rise in the U.S. and throughout the world. Here are the top Cities in the U.S. to soothe your taste buds as well as your moral compass.
The “City of Brotherly Love” indeed loves veggie options. This may surprise some as this is also the capital of Philly cheese steaks. Lincoln Field in Philly has a half dozen meat free options alone, rare for a sports venue. This home of the Liberty bell also offers a lot of vegetarian cafes and restaurants, including Blackbird Pizzeria (surprisingly vegan), Mam’s Vegetarian, and the trendy Vedge, founded by chefs Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby.
Hotlanta has a plethora of vegetarian and vegan options in the heart of the deep South. The metro ATL area boasts some of the most diverse counties in the U.S. that yearn for veg friendly alternatives. Atlanta is the home to Soul Vegetarian, who claims to be the largest vegan restaurant chain in the world. Are team may have to verify that claim. Café Sunflower is also in the heart of Atlanta, but what might set Atlanta apart are all of the niche grocers which stock the shelves and freezers with vegan delights.
- Asheville, NC
Asheville is one of the best kept secrets in America, and they like it that way. The problem for them is that there anti-marketing plan is not working. Asheville is attracting tourists and residents alike. Recent articles call Asheville the happiest place in America, others call it the east coast’s most hipster location. Asheville’s tourism bureau claims it is one of the most vegan Cities in America and based on all of its restaurant options, this committee agrees.
- New York
New York is massive, and large cities have larger varieties of food. The big apple is famous for a lot of things: skyscrapers, landmarks, sports teams, and … vegetarians? New York is purely a numbers game as there are just overwhelming amount of food options, period. However, the Empire State is home to the Vegetarian Food Festival, which is one of the largest of its kind. It also is the places of residency for dozens of A-list celebrities looking for niche vegan options.
Portland is home to the most vegetarian restaurants outside of India. Really, Portland is the U.S. capital for veggie lovers. Portland is the considerate neighbor that prepares food for all appetites, as it is just an overall foody paradise. Northwest Veg, a dining guide/non-profit for vegans and vegetarians also calls Portland home. Portland also boats the United States; largest variety of vegetarian friendly food trucks.
- Santa Cruz, CA
California is synonymous with non-traditional, fad, and luckily vegetarian and vegan restaurant options. It is not uncommon to find vegetarian restaurants on college campuses and in some of the cities most popular food trucks. Being vegetarian in California is a way of life for some, a detox option for others, and a celebrity fad to another subset of the population. Nonetheless, this author cannot overlook Santa Cruz, the place that put being vegan on the map and made it fashionable.
Politically speaking, Austin might as well be an island compared to the rest of Texas. The same can be said when it comes to its eating habits. Texas often conjures up images of steaks and barbecue. Despite this stereotype, Austin offers nearly twenty fully vegetarian restaurants. Some offer the barbecue tofu, soy, and seitan that you might expect in the Lone Star state. Austin has something for every appetite and is beyond forward thinking when it comes to peaceful conscience inclusion.
- San Francisco
It should not be too surprising to find another California city on the top ten list. While this may be home to the infamous Alcatraz, you will not feel like you have to escape the mainstream restaurants.The thing that San Francisco does better than most cities is that most traditional restaurants in San Fran have plenty of vegan options. Check out VegSF for a full list of the Cities vegetarian bistros, restaurants, and eateries. Whether you are looking for a veg friendly pizza, tacos, or a sweet treat this coastal City has something for you.
The Twin Cities is known for being innovative. Minneapolis loves food so much they connect their food and entertainment options with tunnels, so that even in the brutal winter guests can burrow out to the large variety of vegetarian and vegan restaurants options. Similar to San Francisco, the Minneapolis visitors bureau and chamber of commerce offer a vegetarian restaurant guide that showcases gems such as The Ecopolitan Restaurant, The Birchwood Cafe, and Spoonriver. You will wish you have an identical plate to take home as well.
- Washington D.C.
Whether you are a fan of the red team, or the blue team; or if you prefer Bush, or Obama… you will love the vegetarian and vegan scene in our nation’s capital. Washington D.C has one of the largest vegetarian societies in the U.S., that shares newsletters, discounts and advertising for the hub of endless Veg selections. D.C. also have a large demographic of folks that are part of a vegetarian only dating sight. D.C. also sports several Meet-up groups for like-minded folks that do not condone meat eating.