Eating local, farm-to-table, and plant-based foods with little to no waste is important for our health and for supporting the environment, too. After all, research shows that eating primarily plant-based meals cuts back emissions and ultimately helps fight climate change. But eating sustainably, vegan, and low waste is also crucial to supporting Black communities and Black restaurant owners.
In fact, eating vegan has long been a part of Black traditions and culture. According to This Is Africa, many pre-colonial African cultures relied on vegan diets and it was only due to globalization and colonization that caused a shift in diet.
With the Black Lives Matter movement moving forward and finally receiving the national attention (especially from white people) that it deserves in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic murder, more and more Americans are looking to support Black-owned businesses whenever (and wherever!) they can. Not as a direct response to Floyd’s death by a police officer, but because Black-owned businesses have been ignored or not given the proper amplification for far too long; supporting a Black-owned and operated restaurant is a way to not only show your support with your dollar, but also do your part to end the economic inequality in our country perpetuated by systemic racism.
Keep reading for a list of Black-owned restaurants near you that are either sustainable, vegan, farm-to-table, low-waste, or all of the above.
Life Bistro: At 2036 Sylvan Rd. in Atlanta, you will find Life Bistro, a sustainable, vegan restaurant that serves alkaline comfort food. Lunch entrees include the Bob Marley Wrap — curry quinoa, jerk jackfruit, mango salsa, avocado, and chimichurri — and Sweet & Spicy Fried Oyster Mushrooms, while dinner options include Rasta Pasta, Creamy Pesto Fettuccine, and the “Nashville” Hot Sandwich, which is a Nashville Hot Oyster-style sandwich made from mushrooms.
Slutty Vegan: The brainchild of owner Pinky Cole, Slutty Vegan first came to be as a food truck. Now, Slutty Vegan has pivoted to selling vegan fried chicken sandwiches and plant-based burgers at any of its three brick-and-mortar locations— 484 Edgewood Ave. in Atlanta, and the forthcoming Jonesboro location at 164 N. McDonough St. and also forthcoming, its second Atlanta location at 1542 Ralph David Abernathy.
Soul Vegetarian Restaurant No. 2: Despite having “vegetarian” in its name, Soul Vegetarian Restaurant No. 2 is 100 percent vegan. Founded in 1979, Soul Vegetarian claims to be one of the first fully vegan joints in Atlanta. And with decades of vegan experience under the belts, you can guarantee that everything from their Eggless Bowl to their Kalebone and Tofu Sandwiches are delicious.
Vegan Dream Doughnuts: There are not enough vegan dessert places in the world, let alone on this list. At Vegan Dream Doughnuts in the historical west end of Atlanta, your vegan doughnut dreams will — literally — come true. Always made fresh to order, made fresh each day, all doughnuts are vegan and gluten-free. Options include organic fruit cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls, and doughnuts and doughnut holes.
Lovely Vegan Kitchen: The Lovely Vegan Kitchen first came to be in Louisville, and has since spread roots in Atlanta, not only offering catering services, but also serving themed meals and buffet-style cuisine. Tiny bites include Cauliflower Nuggets and a vegan spin on pigs-on-a-blanket called Sleeping Carrots. Themed buffet options include Southern Hospitality, Take Me to Asia/Take Me to Africa, One Love, A Little of Italy, Tex-Mex, and Breads and Desserts.
Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food: Stop by the Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food Truck, usually parked at 1403 East 7th St. in Austin, for vegan takes on chicken and waffles — AKA Chicon N Waffles — Fried Button Mushrooms, Cajun Mac and Cheese With Vegan Shrimp, and Vegan Pokechops.
Belmont Vegetarian Restaurant: While Belmont Vegetarian Restaurant isn’t technically located in Boston, it’s only 42 miles away by car. So, if you ever find yourself in the Boston area, you’ll definitely want to check out Belmont, which, despite “vegetarian” in its name, is 100 percent vegan. Their menu features Jamaican and American-inspired dishes that are always meat- and dairy-free. The menu changes daily according to the chef, so we can’t even try to entice you with highlights! Guests also choose from either a medium or large plate.
Detroit Vegan Soul: The food at Detroit Vegan Soul is trans-fat free, plant-based, made with organic ingredients, dairy-, egg- and lactose-free, naturally cholesterol free, made with no hydrogenated oils, and only uses natural sweeteners like agave nectar and maple syrup. Sold yet? Detroit Vegan Soul has two locations — 19614 Grand River Ave. and 8029 Agnes St. — and their menus differ.
How Delish HD: From local founder Laiquan Harvey-Davis, How Delish HD is a vegan bakery that offers a small deli menu in addition to classic, dairy- and egg-free desserts like cheesecakes, brownies, and ice cream cakes.
Simply Pure: From Chef Stacey Dougan, Simply Pure offers everything from catering and cooking classes to pre-made meal prep options. The main menu features Mama Mia Lasagna, Green Chili Enchiladas, tacos, chilled dishes like Jicama Chilli Cheese Fries and Thai Basil Spring Rolls, paninis, and fresh juices.
Azla: An Ethiopian vegan eatery in Leimert Park, Azla’s menu includes traditional Ethiopian stews like Misir, Kik, Gomen, Shiro, and Yatakilt, as well as salads and combo meals that include either brown rice or Injera.
Compton Vegan: Also allergy-friendly, Compton Vegan serves a variety of plant-based dishes, from bowls — Buffalo Chick’n Mac, Jack and Mac, and BBQ Chick’n Mac — to entrees like BBQ Jackfruit Ribz, Gumbo with vegan shrimp, and a Fried Chick’n Plate featuring collard greens, baked beans, cornbread, and cashew-based Mac n’ Cheeze.
Jackfruit Café: Serving plant-based Caribbean-inspired soul food, Jackfruit Café on Santa Monica Boulevard comes from vegan actor Angela Means Kaaya. Highlights include a Jackfruit Bowl, grilled teriyaki Impossible Teriyaki Bowl, Jackfruit Burrito, Cauliflower Wings. House-made drinks also include a House Jackfruit Smoothie (say what?!), and Sweet Root Herb Tea.
Bobby’s Meals: Located at 2190 Opa Locka Blvd in Miami, Bobby’s Meals offers vegan chicken, bok choy, stew peas, and more based on the day. Because the menu changes each day, you never know what you’re going to get, but you always know that it will be delicious.
Konata’s: Serving classic Jamaician meals and juices in a casual dining environment, Konata’s in North Miami strays away from “manufactured fake meat” alternatives to provide plant-based comfort food like falafel, spiced tofu, couscous, black eyed peas, split pea soup, and more.
Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin: Here at Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin, you will find burgers, pizza, sandwiches, juices, smoothies and more — Caribbean style. Their vegan breakfast menu includes knock-outs like Kale Tofu Scramble & Toast and Vegan Pancakes. For lunch and dinner, there’s Ackee and Vegan Fish, Vegan Boneless Short Ribs, and Coconut Curried Sautéed Vegan Salmon.
New York City
Greedi Kitchen: From Brooklyn native Latisha Daring, Greedi Kitchen has locations on 1031 Bergen St. and 180 Ralph Ave. The 100 percent vegan menu features gluten-free options and a “healthy” take on comfort food. Their Lite Bites include Greedi Nachos, Cauli Bites, and Coconut-Ginger Fried Plantains. For main meals, they offer a variety of bowls, sliders, tacos, and sandwiches.
Juices for Life: Juices for Life, which has locations in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Yonkers, is owned by rappers Styles P and Jadakiss. Here you’ll find an array of vegan juices and smoothies. They also sell two VeganSmart Protein Shake mixes on their website, so you can enjoy Juices for Life smoothies at home.
Seasoned Vegan: Mother-and-son duo Brenda AKA ‘Chef B’ and Aaron Beener own Seasoned Vegan, located in Harlem. During coronavirus, Seasoned Vegan is available by either Postmates or DoorDash. Stand-out menu items include their mac ‘n’ cheese and lemon crusted chickenless nuggets.
Plum Bistro: This spot at 1429 12th Ave. in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle serves local, organic, vegetarian and vegan New American style food with a sustainable focus. Plum Bistro is 100 percent vegan and features stand-out menu items like sloppy joe-style sliders (made with quinoa) and Spicy Mac ‘n’ Yease.
Café Campagne: Located at 1600 Post Alley in Pike Place Market in Seattle, Café Campagne is a French Café that specializes in organic food with a sustainable focus. While the spot is not entirely vegan — they sell seafood and other non-vegan options — the menu features both vegetarian and vegan options, according to Trip Advisor.
NuVegan Café: You’ll find NuVegan Café in Washington, D.C. at 2928 Georgia Ave. or at Howard University’s Black Burn Center, but this vegan, Black-owned eatery also has locations in Richmond, VA and College Park, Md. NuVegan is 100 percent vegan and made fresh in their on-site kitchen.
Served in a cafeteria-esque line, NuVegan offers everything from cold raw sides to vegan jumbo-sized cinnamon rolls and vegan crab cake sandwiches. Gluten-free options are available upon request and NuVegan uses organic and all-natural ingredients as much as possible in their food.
If you are looking for ways to donate your time or money to Black Lives Matter and other antiracist organizations, we have created a list of resources to get you started.