The Best Vegan (and Vegan-friendly) Restaurants in All 50 States

west virginia ipanema cafe
Photo: Courtesy of Keeley Steele

Let's admit it: despite a proliferation of vegetable-forward restaurants in the past two decades, it can still be hard to be vegan. While vegetarian plates are usually very similar to their meat-based analogs (just add extra cheese and put an egg on it), vegan dining is a whole other beast. It doesn't work to just subtract the meat and dairy; sometimes you don't just want a salad with balsamic and olive oil. Fortunately for vegan and vegetable-loving meat eaters alike, plant-based options are getting more exciting—and extensive—every day.Yet starting an all vegan-restaurant is still an ambitious endeavor—and scary because it relies on the strong support of a still small (but growing) demographic. Wherever possible, we've tried to spotlight exclusively vegan businesses; however, you'll also find many vegetarian restaurants, and even ones that serve meat. Why? Sometimes, the best plant-based dishes are served at traditional restaurants—and we count this as progress. We've also tried to choose restaurants that really capture the spirit of their locale, as too often, vegans can feel excluded from truly sampling the culinary culture of a place.We've also chosen restaurants that embody many different schools of vegan cooking. Some channel the earnest sprouts-nostalgia of the '60s; others rely heavily on vegan-friendly global cuisines; still others are more contemporary and vegetable-centric, à la Alice Waters. Our list culls from all of the above, with a primary barometer being taste. In sum, we've culled the best of the best–and are happy to report that it's been a difficult process. We hope it gets even harder in years to come, as vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants proliferate.

01 of 50

Arizona: Green Restaurant (Phoenix and Tempe)

Green Vegetarian
green New American Vegetarian

Sometimes, there seems to be this superiority complex in the vegan community against mock meats. Like, once you become an enlightened vegan, you'll stop craving meat substitutes and just content yourself with the unadulterated taste of tomatoes. Us, we take pleasure in a good veggie burger: both the hearty grainy sort and the truly flesh-like (hello, Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger). And if you do too, and you're in Phoenix or Tempe, get thee to Green Restaurant. They're known for their Big WAC, a double decker veggie burger whose undisputed stars are the soy-based patties within. They're unapologetically salty with a meaty bite, and the perfect complement to the sweet "special sauce" within. Unlike the burger's fast food doppelgänger, the bun is fresh; the tomato bright, the lettuce crisp. There are also moreish seitan-based Buffalo wings with a side of dill-packed ranch, cheese steaks and chili cheese fries. While this isn't the most gluten-free-friendly place because of their mock meats, they do also have gluten-free Thai-inspired bowls. As one Yelp reviewer put it, "It's neither cheap or overpriced for what you're getting," but worth the money.

02 of 50

Alaska:Middle Way Cafe

Middle Way Cafe
Courtesy of Middle Way Cafe

There are many schools of vegetarian food: some are nori- and grain bowl-forward, while others more rustically reminiscent of '60s, heavy on the sprouts and avocado. Middle Way Café leans towards the latter, in a great way. It's delicious without pretense, earnestly offering fresh and simply satisfying fare. The whole-wheat toasts are thick and toothsome, smeared with avocado and sprouts, while the peanut soups are hearty with whispers of garam masala. It's not focused on bucking hippie stereotypes (as are so many plant-based restaurants today), but rather preserving what was so great about them. Aptly named as it offers tuna and chicken for omnivorous friends (without a side of judgment), it also has melt-in-your-mouth cookies and brownies that happen to be gluten-free. It's also very accommodating of Celiac and food allergies.

03 of 50

Arkansas: The Root Cafe

The Root Cafe
Arshia Khan

One gets the feeling that The Root Café is something very special. For the casual spot that it is, the attention to the food is remarkable. It sources all of its meat and eggs from within the state, and does the same for most of its cheeses. All producers are named on their website with great specificity—a step beyond simply slapping "farm to table" on the menu. Pickles are made in-house and so is the almond milk; the coffee is, of course, locally roasted. And though their traditional biscuits are flaky and their beef short rib fork-worthy, their most raved-about offerings are vegan. There are banh mi on crusty local hoagies with crispy organic fried tofu, punctuated with pickled carrot and daikon, slathered with hoisin and vegan mayo; there are comforting bowls of coconut curry soup; and for brunch, pancakes are not to be overlooked. (All of the aforementioned are vegan.) For those craving something more alive, there are raw quiches and raw mushroom soups to boot. The Root Cafe would easily earn respect just for its commitment to sustainable sourcing (one cow at a time, for example); but the fact that it also executes its food with such skill puts it in another category altogether.

04 of 50

Alabama: Chef Will the Palate

Chef Will the Palate
Courtesy of Chef Will the Palate

When Roy Choi was named a Food & Wine Best New Chef on these very pages in 2010, former editor Dana Cowin said it represented "a change in the way food is delivered and consumed around America today." In that same spirit, some of the best places to eat anywhere—vegan or otherwise—are on wheels. And when we say "best," we mean tastiest, most satisfying and also representative of the city from which they spring. Chef Will the Palate's food truck is one such establishment. Pioneering plant-based food in Huntsville, Alabama, longtime chef and vegetarian Forest Wilson is among a growing community of people of color who are changing the formerly narrow image of the plant-based movement. Wilson sources from local farmers' markets to create Southern-inspired, blackened smoky tofu over greens, cumin-spiced black bean tacos and herb-forward crusty avocado sandwiches. They're as rib-sticking and satiating as any nearby barbecue, without the food coma afterwards.

05 of 50

Colorado: The Gold Leaf Collective

Gold Leaf Collective
Taylor Smith; Jimena Peck

The fact that the upcoming season of Top Chef was filmed in Colorado is just one marker of the state's growing assertion of its culinary prowess. (Four James Beard Award semi-finalists this past year are another.) Although new, The Gold Leaf Collective illustrates how lesser known cities like Fort Collins are capitalizing on proximity to farms that cover so much of the state, while attracting culinary talent and customers from nearby Boulder and Denver. Nothing here is sourced from industrial suppliers—and if you've run a restaurant before, you know how hard that is to do. It's rare to find a place with a near solid five stars on Yelp even after 100+ reviews, but The Gold Leaf Collective manages to do it. Eat here, and you'll see why. What started as a food truck has now morphed into a brick-and-mortar location whose casual atmosphere belies its frankly sophisticated cuisine. There are beets, perfectly roasted, with coconut cream labneh, pepitas, and mustard greens; there's a charred iceberg wedge with seitan bacon, pickled apples, and onions. The food doesn't shun meat analogs, but really holds its own as a restaurant in the New American style. This is the direction in which plant-based dining should be moving, and we want to follow it.

06 of 50

Connecticut: Bloodroot

Noel Furie

You had us at "vegetarian restaurant and feminist bookstore." We loathe the term hidden gem, but if we had to pick one instance to use it, it would be for Bloodroot. It's not exactly undiscovered, as it has been written about by the New York Times and Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde are fans; but it is understated. If you didn't know better, you'd think you were just walking into a bookstore in Bridgeport; the restaurant part is rather hidden. But step out onto its patio overlooking Brewster Cove, order a bowl of penne with butternut squash and sage, and we'll wager that it'll be one of the better afternoons you've had. The bookstore is, of course, what makes Bloodroot so special, but even without it, the food is a delight. It's simple, thoughtful and internationally inspired, but not in a way that smacks of appropriation, which is sometimes the case with vegetarian restaurants from an older time. Owners Selma Miriam and Noel Furie have run the space for almost half a century, and don't plan on quitting anytime soon. On the wall, there's a quote that reads: "Because all women are victims of fat oppression and out of respect for women of size, we would appreciate your refraining from agonizing aloud over the calorie count in our food." We'll cheers to that one hundred times.

07 of 50

Delaware: Drop Squad Kitchen

Drop Squad Kitchen
Courtesy of Drop Squad Kitchen

Sometimes, a vegan restaurant is only a place to get delicious food. Other times, it's infused with that palpable social activism at the heart of the vegan community. Drop Squad Kitchen falls into the latter category, in the most positive way. Owner Abundance Child (what a name) went vegan in 1993 and, after experiencing what she says is increased energy, weight loss and clearer skin, she never looked back. There's no pressure or political agenda served up with your meal, but Child's enthusiasm for what she does comes through in the food. It's all comforting, more modern American than rustic: there are hand-shaped, messy black bean burgers smeared with avocado, pan-baked cornbread, just-sweet baked beans and messy chicken-esque burgers. There's even a mac and cheese, which is gluten-free and nut-free (and if you're familiar with a lot of vegan cheese sauces, you'll know how many of them rely on nuts). In short, Drop Squad Kitchen is the kind of place that's helping to change negative stereotypes of veganism and vegan dining—and for that, we're grateful.

08 of 50

Florida: The Farmer's Table

The Farmer's Table

We'll cut to the chase: like many places on this list, The Farmer's Table does serve meat. But why, you ask? Why pick a restaurant that serves meat when there are so many other great ones that don't, like Miami's Eden in Eden or Plant Food + Wine? Well, it's a rare thing for a traditional restaurant to have dedicated vegan options that don't involve just subtracting meat and dairy, and a rarer thing still to execute them flawlessly with equal care and attention. But The Farmer's Table does it. They have a stand-out spaghetti squash pasta with quinoa meatballs that straddles the line between comforting and modern. The sweetness of the marinara and squash shine brightly, livened with basil from the restaurant's garden out back. There's a vegan shepard's pie that's satiating in the most profound way, overflowing with lentils and root veggies, topped with savory Daiya. While there are appearances of plant-based meats on the menu, they're mostly grain-forward, unprocessed and largely gluten-free; still, they manage to satisfy that meaty craving. Whatever you choose, wash it all down with a garden to glass cocktail; the Spa-Day with organic cucumber vodka, smashed mint, and coconut water is not to be missed, especially for those who gravitate towards savory drinks. We could write a book about this place, but in sum: The Farmer's Table is one of the best restaurants in Palm Beach, and you must go.

09 of 50

Hawaii: Beet Box Cafe

Beet Box Cafe
Tony Heff

There are many, many places like Beet Box Cafe all over Hawaii. Indeed, it's characteristic of what most of us associate with Hawaiian casual cuisine: avocado-forward, heavy on the raw, bright with sprouts and starfruit garnish. There really aren't any surprises here, and sometimes, that's the point. Everything Beet Box Cafe does, it does extremely well and reliably so; it might even be worth a trip to the North Shore if you don't have one planned. Unassumingly located next to the Post Office, the avocado toast here is one of the best around: an almost 1:1 avocado to bread ratio, with utterly fluffy toast beneath. Their falafel burger is toothsome and well-spiced, although be sure to order an extra side of aioli if you like yours particularly moist. The breakfast beans and brown rice are topped with sprouts and are simply, perfectly executed; nothing begs to be added or subtracted. The organic pitaya bowl is lovingly crafted with banana, papaya and almond milk, topped with coconut flakes and bee pollen, among other things. (Make sure your phone is charged so you can Instagram.) Like many places on this roundup, Beet Box very much captures the spirit of its location. The feeling of the island is offered up in the warmth of the wood paneling, the friendliness of the staff, the it's-all-good atmosphere and, most tangibly, the freshness of the food.

10 of 50

Georgia: The Grit

The Grit
Amanda Greene

Apart from Atlanta, Savannah seems to get all the love in Georgia. But Athens is the hip older sister that brought us R.E.M., the B-52s, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Of Montreal. And it follows that its food scene would offer something equally compelling. In that vein, The Grit is less of a restaurant than an institution. Having been open for thirty years now, it's an ode to the edgy, rock-laced heritage of this unsung city, and you would be remiss not to visit if you were in the area. Order a biscuits and yeast (yup, nutritional yeast) for $5 with soysage patties on the side, or a big ole Grit Staple with pinto beans, rice, cheese (for the vegetarians), and onions for $5.25. Southern staples are translated in all of their vegan glory here, and you just go with it. The food is delicious, but the vibe is the real draw. Sometimes, eating vegan in a city can make you feel like you're not sampling its true culture; The Grit, on the contrary, is emblematic of it.

11 of 50

California: Julia's

Julia's Vegetarian Restaurant
Courtesy of Julia's Vegetarian Restaurant

To pick a "best" vegan restaurant in California is, inevitably, a difficult endeavor—one that merits explanation. The state is no stranger to the plant-based movement, and, indeed, helped popularize the trend on a national level in the '60s and '70s with iconic restaurants like Follow Your Heart (of the popular brand Veganaise). Since then, there have sprung more contemporary re-imaginations of vegan cuisine, like Café Gratitude and Tal Ronnen's elevated Crossroads. And then there are a host of "California cuisine" restaurants that don't identify as vegan (and aren't), but are brilliantly vegetable centered, like Josef Centeno's P.Y.T. in downtown L.A. All this is to say: There are many noteworthy plant-based restaurants nearby. But Julia's is different. A few times in your life, you eat at a place where the food is prepared with such love, such attention, that it has an emotional impact on you. Julia's is such a place. It's small, with only eight tables and a bar. There's usually only one waiter and one or two people in the kitchen. Chef owner Anthony Gerbino has no dedicated cooks and does most everything himself. Still, somehow he manages to craft ravioli of the most delicate sort, stuffed with chanterelles or Agaricus lilaceps that he's foraged from the misty woods of Big Sur. (He's been doing this safely for years, and is currently up to thirty mushroom varieties.) He dries candy cap mushrooms and then powders them into a caramel for the rest of the year, and serves them with a coconut cream that is at once earthy yet sweet. There are pizzas (gluten-free optional) with locally roasted vegetables and melt-in-your mouth eggplant, peppery and garlicky. The menu changes every night, sometimes offering the comfort of yellow dhal that is breathed through with fresh turmeric, pierced with whole-roasted cumin. Other times, there are bowls of Thai curry that, while not facsimiles of their Bangkok street counterparts, are complex and nourishing with few rivals. Everything is well seasoned and bursting with flavor; one never desires to reach for salt or hot sauce. You can't spend more than $40 in this place for two people, but it's worth so much more. Gerbino's emotional investment in the restaurant shows; we hope that Julia's will continue as it is for a long, long time.

12 of 50

Kentucky: Roots and Heart & Soy (the two restaurants are connected; one is a takeaway concept, one is sit down)

Heart and Soy
Courtesy of Heart and Soy

If you're road tripping through Kentucky and you Google "Kentucky vegan," Roots and Heart & Soy are two of the first hits. Popular doesn't always equal better, but in this case, press is earned with good merit. Both restaurants are vegetarian, under the same roof and owned by Coco Tran. Tran makes her own tofu—not a trivial endeavor—and many of the Asian-inspired dishes feature it: deep-fried spring rolls that you could eat twenty of, and savory Vietnamese crepes made from mung bean flour and stuffed with sprouts, served with a sweet dipping sauce. If you're only going to get one thing, however, order the Korean rice bowl, which is a plant-based take on bibimbap. Know that the beauty of these dishes—the pho included—is not necessarily in their faithfulness to the cultures from which they spring, but their contemporary interpretation. ("Authenticity" may be a problematic term, but it's a legitimate thing to wonder about.) In this vein, Tran is a talented chef who has succeeded in portraying Southeast Asian flavors in modern style.

13 of 50

Illinois: Chicago Diner

The Chicago Diner
Julia Moran Martz

In a city that was once known as "porkopolis" and made its name as a 20th century meatpacking powerhouse, the ethos of meatloaf and Reubens still runs strong. This is a tradition that Chicago Diner respects, even as it reimagines it. The Reuben here is the star: marbled rye is filled with shaved thin seitan, slathered with vegan Thousand Island, onions and the tang of sauerkraut. There are also country-fried steaks, pierogi quesadillas (hi, Chicago) and a gluten-free marinated mushroom melt with mozzarella (for the vegetarians) and a white truffle aioli. The black bean burger and sweet potato fries are also great. In true diner fashion, the vegan shakes here are the perfect way to wash down your meal (or dip your fries): the chocolate peanut butter shake is a highlight. (Hey, we never said vegan food had to be healthy.) The Chicago Diner delivers on that diner vibe that is so quintessential to the city and the Midwest as a whole, and it's been doing it since 1983.

14 of 50


Courtesy of BBQ4LIFE

There's a moral debate in the vegan community: given the often-disturbing reality behind even the most "free range" of meat and dairy production, is it ethical compromise and serve animal products in the name of making vegan food accessible to more people? Or would it make more sense to just invest one's energy into promoting plant-based products? We aren't here to resolve that debate or even take sides on it, but if it comes down to having an all-meat menu or one with vegan options, we celebrate the latter. And this is where BBQ4LIFE succeeds. What started out as a food truck has garnered a loyal following and grown into a brick and mortar, and they take barbecue seriously. There are huge cylindrical smokers out back, and the smoked tempeh is sliced to order and covered in a chocolate raspberry sauce that respects the nuance of the protein. The Vegan Foot sandwich offers super thick-cut Hawaiian bread bursting with said tempeh and vegan mac and cheese, all smothered in barbecue sauce. There are some who would hold that vegan barbecue isn't barbecue at all, but BBQ4LIFE translates the experience of barbecue with a reverence that even the most religious of Southern pitmasters would tip their hat to. Also, their spicy slaw with apples is not to be missed.

15 of 50

Indiana: The Owlery

The Owlery
Kylie McDonald

Every college town needs a spot like The Owlery. With a hip, young feel, it also delivers on the kind of Sunday comfort food you want to indulge in after three or four beers the night before. Brunch here is exactly what brunch should be: biscuits smothered in mushroom gravy, topped with optional TVP sausage (umami-ish soy-based crumbles). The Owlery bills itself as a vegetarian restaurant, but there are still enough options to not leave vegans out in the cold: a comforting mac and cheese that is checks the "mac and cheese" box without being too saucy, tofu scrambles that are bright with turmeric and ready to be lashed with hot sauce. There is split pea soup for dinner, perhaps among the least sexy of menu items but also the most satisfying; breaded tofu fish tacos have an equally non-sexy name but are what everyone secretly wants to order. (They're perfectly crunchy, too.) The Owlery delivers the kind of cozy you want to spend all Sunday in, over a leisurely brunch with friends, with an almond latte in hand. And it just happens to be vegetarian.

16 of 50

Maryland: Land of Kush

The Land of Kush
Balanced Photography

If you're in Baltimore, crab cakes must be had—and Land of Kush delivers. No, they're not exactly the texture of crab, which is often mimicked with okra or hearts of palm; these are made with TVP (soy protein) and spiced with Old Bay, and are spectacular nonetheless. Where Land of Kush really delivers, however, is soul food: silky mac and cheese, stewed greens and soy-based ribs in a barbecue sauce that's light on the sweet, heavy on the spice. The ribs are chewy and swimming in the garlicky and onion-y barbecue gravy, which is plentiful and strong enough to permeate the density of the chunks. It's really the signature dish. Owner Gregory Brown never planned on being a chef, much less opening a restaurant; but after becoming vegan in the late '90s, he got the opportunity to cook at a jazz concert series, and sold out of food every single night. That was the beginning. Now, Land of Kush—a name he chose because it refers to an ancient African civilization—is redefining concepts of what soul food can be, for the African American community and Baltimore at large.

17 of 50

Iowa: Trumpet Blossom Café

Trumpet Blossom Cafe
Julie Staub

For being in the middle of steak and potato country, vegetarian Trumpet Blossom Café gets props for even existing. But beyond that, it presents plant-based fare creatively, outside the standard format of carbs and protein that characterize Americana cuisine. For example, their creamy baked potatoes split open and swim in umami-esque walnut gravy, topped with kalamatas and kale. It's not exactly a baked potato, nor is it potatoes and protein; it's its own creation entirely. Well-spiced, crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside falafel sits atop a schmear of hummus, without the need for a salad or a wrap; sometimes there are breaded, deep-fried polenta cakes topped with gravy and roasted veggies, with a crisp apple slaw. There are also tangy, chai-spiced pickled beets that are fantastic. It's Mediterranean-influenced, with a New American style. This type of framework is so often the key to the success of vegetarian cuisine—breaking out of the mold of how we think about the dinner plate. And that is where Trumpet Blossom Café excels.

18 of 50

Kansas: The Breakfast Club Cafe

Heidi VanPelt

Like other locales on this list where vegan options are scarce, The Breakfast Club does a better job than it needs to of purveying plant-based options. It could easily get away with being half as good as it is, just because it's one of the only vegan restaurants around (actually, the first and only as reported by many). But the owners take pride in pushing the creative envelope: there's aquafaba whipped cream (made from the frothy stuff in your can of chickpeas) and sizzly and greasy "bacon" made from rice paper. (Usually coconut or eggplant is the star in plant-based bacon.) Perhaps the most raved-about dish is the biscuits and gravy, though: they're flaky, moist and buttery sans butter. The queso too, must be ordered: it's subtly smoky and spicy. For those who can't eat gluten, there are black bean hashes and brownies to boot. The restaurant is perhaps in an unexpected location, inside the Ecumenical Campus Ministries building on the University of Kansas (but with no affiliation to the ministry). The dining room looks like a former church dining hall, at once quirky and intimate. The Breakfast Club Cafe embodies what we love about so many vegan restaurants: a bootstrapped commitment to serving plant-based fare in order to shift the conversation around food, which isn't always easy to do. But The Breakfast Club Cafe appears to be succeeding.

19 of 50

Louisiana: Killer PoBoys

Killer PoBoys
Kylie McDonald

Killer PoBoys is yet another place on the list that isn't exclusively plant-based. Why? When you visit New Orleans, po' boys must be had—and Killer PoBoys is one of the few place to eat them vegan. Started by two fine dining alums, Cam Boudreaux and April Bellow, Killer PoBoys has grown to be a destination in the French Quarter. (There's also a second, newly opened location by the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum). Under the same roof that serves alligator meatballs, you can also nosh on sweet potato po' boys slathered with black-eyed pea and pecan spread, popped with pickled shallots. Another version features toothsome yet melty caramelized cauliflower, sandwiched between bread that's perfectly soft on the inside and crackles with a crust on the outside. There are some who may dispute that a cauliflower po' boy is indeed a po' boy. Are there more traditional po' boys elsewhere? Probably. But regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of culinary semantics, this place is delicious.

20 of 50

Massachusetts: Veggie Galaxy

Veggie Galaxy
Courtesy of Veggie Galaxy

Like so many of the restaurants on our roundup, Veggie Galaxy is very much a restaurant that captures the spirit of its locale. Located in Cambridge, it's the greasy spoon that every college town needs. It's equally packed with students and out-of-town visitors who've read about it and are trying it out for the first time (the restaurant even has its own Wikipedia page.) The vegan corned beef seitan hash is a must-get; if you eat eggs, order it topped with poached eggs as a benny. In true diner style, the food is unadorned and simple, but that's the charm of the place. Also, don't forget to wash it down with a coffee vegan frappé (spike it with port for an extra $2: highly recommended.)

21 of 50

Maine: Bandaloop

Skye A. Lee

Bandaloop is one of the few restaurants on our list that doesn't necessarily purvey local specialties with a plant-based paradigm—at least not for vegans, anyway. Named by Eater as one of the top ten restaurants in Kennebunkport, it largely refrains from focusing on the clams and lobsters that are of place. Although it does serve seafood (and meat), it chooses to spotlight more rustic plates. (The restaurant itself is in a farmhouse and is the epitome of cozy.) For vegetarians, there's a quesadilla gooey with Vermont cheddar that's punctuated with sugar-cured jalapenos. Get it. For vegans there's a harissa-spiced tofu with a kimchi vegetable slaw and tangy sweet tamarind sauce, served over subtly scented saffron basmati. Get that, too. Many of their dishes are more globally inspired, often drawing from so many places all at once that you wouldn't think they'd work, but they do. The daily soup might be one of chilled vegan coconut curry or summer corn gazpacho, depending on when you visit: both are delicious. Celiacs are not just tolerated here, but welcome: the waitstaff is trained to deal with allergies and be attentive to them, and several dishes are gluten-free.

22 of 50

Minnesota: The Herbivorous Butcher

The Herbivorous Butcher
Courtesy of The Herbivorous Butcher

At the same time that vegetable-forward concepts gaining popularity in the larger food world (grain bowls, avocado everything), plant-based meat is having its own renaissance. No longer conjuring images of bad '90s vegetarian options, the category expanded greatly. And guess what? It doesn't want to be called "fake meat" anymore. It is meat, just made from plants. While one could debate the semantics of this, we think it's a great thing that the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat burger are calling themselves meat and are being sold in meat cases. In that vein, we also celebrate the existence of The Herbivorous Butcher. For anyone who's made seitan before, you know that it's not a casual process. You also know that there's infinite possibilities for flavoring and texture depending on what spices and herbs you put in your wheat gluten dough, and what broth you use to simmer. Brother and sister duo Aubry and Kale Walch (yes, that's his real name) have pushed that idea to its limit: at any given time, there are over sixteen meats in their deli case, which is set up like a traditional butchery. There are Sriracha bratwursts and butternut sausage, smoky house ribs and maple breakfast sausage, porterhouse steak and kimchi bratwursts. Also, don't forget the vegan cheeses! Almost as extensive as their meat line, pesto havarti, Sriracha cheddar, Havarti and Muenster await. We're guessing it's only a matter of time before they get VC backed and franchised.

23 of 50

New Jersey: Veganized

veganized restaurant in new jersey
Courtesy of Veganized

If you were walking by, the informal exterior of Veganize might bely the level of execution of its cuisine. It's casual, to be sure–and all vegan, as the name implies–but with a decidedly contemporary flair. There are raw beet ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese, plated to Instagram-ability; there are lentil salad bowls filled with a million things and lashed with a zesty lemon vinaigrette and creamy cashew sour cream. The deluxe burger features smoked eggplant as a topping and is served on a sweet potato bun; it's one of the most popular items, although other plates better showcase the restaurant's creativity. There are oyster mushrooms sautéed to glistening perfection (if you come when they're in season), and cauliflower and butternut squash soups with perfectly toasty crostini to dunk. Veganized is all the best elements of vegan cuisine: raw and vegetable-forward, with a few familiar staples well executed. And if you're in New Jersey, it's worth visiting. If you're in New Brunswick, it's a must, and it might even be worth the trip if you're not.

24 of 50

Michigan: Detroit Vegan Soul

Dirty Vegan Soul
Adwater Media

Vegan soul food is having a moment. And we hope its the beginning of a more permanent presence. The motto here is "soul food made from whole food," and it delivers. Whereas some plant-based soul food eateries aim to create plates that are just as rich as their analogs, Detroit Vegan Soul has a cleaner take on classics like mac and cheese, greens and breaded delicacies. You have to get the vegan fried catfish to try it (it's made from tofu and is gluten-free) and the black pepper seitan steak, but don't overlook their grain bowls or their soups. The "chicken" soup is layered in flavor without relying on the heavy hand of salt, which is the main downfall for many plant-based derivative soups. The restaurant strikes a delicate balance that respects the integrity of soul food—its flavor profiles and mouth feels—and translates them in a contemporary, cleaner way. What started as a catering company in 2012 has since grown to two brick-and-mortar locations and counting. Visit, and it's easy to see why.

25 of 50

Missouri: Main Squeeze

Main Squeeze
Annaliese Nurnberg

Everything about Main Squeeze is colorful: the walls, the decor, the food. Near Mizzou's campus, it offers grain bowls and smoothies of SoCal persuasion, but served with Midwestern earnestness. The Buddha Bowl is popular for a reason; the sesame ginger dressing (which is vegan and gluten free, by the way, sans soy sauce), is the undoubted star of the bowl, bringing to life the tofu and sprouts in a sweet, tangy way. There are also smoothies that we never would have dreamed up, but love: the Jittery George is one of our favorites, featuring banana, peanut butter, and matcha (there's also spinach in there, but you can't taste it). It works. Main Squeeze is a completely vegetarian restaurant, with most items being vegan.

26 of 50

Nebraska:Modern Love

nebraska fountain
Davel5957 / Getty Images

Does the name Isa Chandra Moskowitz ring a bell? If you've ever Googled "vegan [insert dish name here]," you've probably read one of her recipes. You've probably even flipped through one of her books on a friend's shelf or on your own: she wrote Veganomicon and Vegan With a Vengeance, among others, and hosted a vegan cooking show (yes, really). If there's a plant-based canon, she's in it. Formerly based in Brooklyn, Moskowitz has a successful location of Modern Love there and another in Omaha. (So, lest you think the bar for vegan fare is lower in the Midwest, know that Moskowitz helped to set that bar in New York.) Modern Love bills itself as serving swanky vegan comfort food, and we couldn't have summed it up better. The heirloom tomato caprese features a creamy almond ricotta that's cut with the tangy sweetness of a balsamic reduction and brightened with basil; in classic Nebraska fashion, there are also cinnamon rolls served in bowls of chili. The mains largely follow the standard meat and potatoes format, perhaps to appeal to a wider audience; they're not bad, but the mac and 'shews (as in cashews, soaked and ground up in the cheese sauce) is a standout. Occasionally food can be a bit on the blander side–not a bad thing necessarily, and probably accommodating a wide variety of diners–but it's nothing that some hot sauce won't fix. Of all the places Moskowitz could have opened a restaurant–and would no doubt be successful anywhere–we're glad she chose a place where she could make an impact.

27 of 50

Mississippi:High Noon Cafe

High Noon Cafe
Patrick Jerome

Located inside Rainbow Co-op grocery, High Noon has that familiar, timeless vibe that all small health food stores have, no matter where you go. It kind of feels like coming home. Sometimes there's taco soup, spiked with cumin and salty with nubs of fresh corn; it's served with tortilla chips to dunk. The black-eyed pea burger is exactly what a veggie burger should be: firm, toothsome, moist, moreish. Get the chickUN and dumplings if you're lucky enough to go when it's being served; it's a standout. High Noon Cafe doesn't deliver any surprises, and it doesn't need to. In a world where so much changes, thank goodness some things never do. We're glad it exists.

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Nevada:Lakeside Restaurant at the Wynn Hotel

wynn hotel restaurant landscape
Courtesy of Jeff Green

You've probably seen Tal Ronnen on Ellen; the vegan chef catered Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi's wedding. He also prepped Oprah for her 21-day vegan challenge. He's the chef at Crossroads in Los Angeles, which was the first elevated plant-based concept in the city, opening in 2013. He's also the consulting chef at Lakeside at the Wynn, and if you're looking for a classier Vegas experience that's also meat- and dairy-free, this is the place to go. Three-time James Beard Award nominee chef David Walzog is behind its stoves, plating up smoked wild mushroom chowder with cashew cream and cannelloni with silky Kite Hill ricotta, a brand that Ronnen also launched. While Lakeside bills itself as a seafood restaurant, there are also creative takes on fruits de mer, like seafood chowder with meaty mushrooms and kombu to impart ocean-like notes. There are also crab cakes made from hearts of palm, which have a remarkably similar texture to crab. Still, the cuisine isn't derivative; it has its own identity, while holding its own with the best of Las Vegas dining.

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Montana: Catalyst Cafe

montana skyline
akpakp / Getty Images

Located on an iconically Western main drag in Missoula, one Yelp reviewer described Catalyst as "capturing Missoula's soul." These are the types of places we strive to feature on our roundups: ones with good vegan food, yes, but which also have that X factor that you know when you feel it. Catalyst isn't dedicated vegetarian, but there are add-ons of tempeh and Morningstar veggie patties, and perhaps more importantly, an atmosphere that welcomes vegetarians. It is, admittedly, heavy on the cheese—it serves intriguing mini cheddar potato casseroles baked in individual ramekins, oozing with cheese and big as muffins. If you're vegan, however, there are chilaquiles and breakfast burritos, just hold the sour cream and cheese. We'll admit that these aren't dedicated vegan options, and so modifying them by holding the dairy does change the way the dish was designed (perhaps making it less successful). That said, we think the vegan experience at Catalyst is still an enjoyable one, and it's worth the visit if you're in town.

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New Hampshire: Susty's

susty's vegan restaurant in New Hampshire
Courtesy of Susty's / Norma Koski

Susty's is, at this point, a New Hampshire institution. They've been serving tofu scrambles and veggie burgers since 1998, and if you grew up in New Hampshire, it's the kind of place you make sure to visit when you come back home. The hours are sometimes inconsistent (they can be closed for weekend functions or problems that come up, so just be sure to call ahead), but that's part of the charm. They're a family-run operation, and it comes through in the food in a personal way. Order a plate of deep-fried soy and veggie fritters with a big side of ranch to dunk, or a kale salad that's fresh and filling, topped with edible flowers. The hand-shaped veggie burger is well seasoned, fat, and toothsome. Like many of the places on our list, Susty's is very much a part of the fabric of its locale. Located in a stand alone A-frame on a quieter road, it's the perfect Sunday stop. Susty's

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New Mexico: Love Yourself Cafe

new mexico love yourself cafe vegan
Courtesy of Victor Romero

New Mexico is the land of enchantment, Hatch chiles, and spas, and Love Yourself Cafe adorably combines all three. The cafe is attached to a larger, rather informal spa—the kind that's so iconic in Santa Fe and nearby Taos, thanks to natural mineral springs and the wellness movement that's taken hold here. Even if you aren't taking part in the color baths they offer, however, the cafe itself is worth a visit. It offers decidedly cleaner versions of classically Southwestern plates: there are huevos rancheros and Hatch green chile Benedicts, which are satiating yet clean, in true spa-like ethos. The dining room is light-filled, clean and airy, and is the kind of place you want to spend a couple hours. Like many of the places on our list, Love Yourself Cafe captures the spirit of its place, and is worth a visit if you're in town.

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North Dakota: Terra Nomad

north dakota terra nomad restaurant
Courtesy of Quinn Oberlander

Multi-use spaces are on the rage, and it's a good look on Terra Nomad. Part coffee shop, part clothing store in the back, it's the most Instagram-able place you never expected in Bismarck, North Dakota. After you get tired of browsing through Tokyo-esque black mumus (all very cute), sip a well pulled espresso and dig into a chia bowl with almond milk, raspberries and almonds. The highlight of lunch is perhaps the scone-wich, which features a (non-vegan) cheddar scone stuffed with balsamic-marinated eggplant, arugula, and mozzarella. For those with sweeter tooths, there are moist yet crumbly gluten-free raspberry limeade scones. Although there aren't a lot of meat-free and dairy-free options on the menu, it's still one of the best places to eat if you're vegan. Maple balsamic roasted quinoa, for example, can be served in a pita without feta; pickled onion, sweet potato, and cranberry in a housemade pita still make it a toothsome meal.

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North Carolina: Happy + Hale

north carolina happy and hale vegan
Courtesy of Laura Bradford /

Despite the many Southern elements from which it could draw, Happy + Hale smacks of Southern California unapologetically. The owners, Matt Whitley and Tyler Helikson, started evangelizing cold pressed juice in Raleigh in 2014, and since then, the restaurant has grown to encompass three (soon to be four) locations. There's avocado toast substantiated with French lentils and brightened with an optional sunny side up egg, lashed with Sriracha; there are utterly craveable quinoa bowls, crunchy with dino kale and sweet with butternut squash, all balanced with the tang of lemon tahini dressing. All salads are customizable, and everything is clearly marked as vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free. Unlike some of the restaurants on this list, Happy + Hale isn't necessarily emblematic of its region. It's certainly not what you think of when you think of Southern food, but sometimes different is a good thing. And this is one of those times.

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Oklahoma:The Tropical

the tropical in oklahoma
Courtesy of The Tropical

If you're vegan in Tulsa, The Tropical is one of the best places to eat, period. The sometimes slow service is worth the wait for the pad ma khuer: stir-fried silky eggplant glazed with garlicky soy bean sauce, brightened with basil. Order it with rice, and a side of vegan deep fried corn fritters to start. The penne keow whan is a fun take on green curry, featuring titular penne swimming in an indulgent coconut milk sauce pierced with makrut lime and Thai basil. Although the restaurant serves meat, almost every single item on the menu can be made vegan by subbing tofu, and dishes are built to be flavorful enough that this choosing this option doesn't diminish the final result. Depending on what your experiences are with Thai food, one might describe this cuisine as traditional or more Thai-inspired; regardless of your word opinion, it's darn delicious.

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Rhode Island: Julian's

providence rhode island skyline view
Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

One cannot visit Providence without visiting Julian's on Broadway. Tucked away on Federal Hill, away from Brown University and its college vibe that permeates so much of Providence, Julian's is a little rough around the edges in the best way. The walls are red; the vegan benedict is amazing; brunch is an institution in and of itself. There's often a wait on Sunday mornings, and with good reason. The St. Jamez benedict delivers on your anticipation with a thick and substantial fried tofu patty and the Earth-balanced based hollandaise on top lulls away any remaining anxieties. Garlicky spinach is a nominal but welcome touch. If you're not going the benny route, order a hash and tempeh sausage on the side, and lash it all with hot sauce. Like several places on our list, Julian's also serves meat; but in Providence, it's where the cool vegans hang out.

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Ohio: Paulie Gee's Short North

vegan pizzeria in ohio
Courtesy of Jake Holler

Again, another option on our list that isn't exclusively vegetarian. Chalk it up to "traditional" eateries wizening up and offering best in class options for plant-based dining, but Paulie Gee's is onto something. For a place that offers Hog Pit brisket marmalade (yes, really), they also put a surprising amount of love and care into their vegan pizzas. And superlatives are cheap these days, but it might just be the best vegan pie you've had. Ever. Their In Ricotta Da Vegan is topped with fat dollops of creamy housemade cashew ricotta that could inspire a short gospel. The cashew flavor actually isn't terribly strong, and it serves its intended purpose perfectly: as a cool, rich complement to the spicy housemade vegan sausage and sweet marinara. It's topped with baby arugula that's surprisingly spicy, and finished generously with EVOO. There are actually three other vegan pies on the menu, although the Ricotta Da Vegan is probably the most popular. But get any, and you likely won't regret it.

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New York: Avant Garden

new york avant garden restaurant vegan friendly
Courtesy of Stephanie Kimberly

Ah, New York. Just like its best coast counterpart, California, compiling any type of short list for the city (let alone the state) is a challenge. How do you pick the best of a place that is known for having the best of the best? Champs Diner is beloved, as is Candle 79 (started by Tal Ronnen, who consults for Lakeside at Wynn, our Nevada pick). There's also Caravan of Dreams, Butcher's Daughter … we could go on and on. But we chose Avant Garden because it confidently posits itself as a "traditional" restaurant—and succeeds in a way that frankly few plant-based establishments do. The menu is intriguingly divided into three categories: toast, cold and hot. Everything is tapas style, and meant to be shared. Suck on vinegary pickled olives while you contemplate the natural wine list, and order a toast to start. They're topped high with jewel tone tomatoes and candy-like tomato jam and creamy ricotta, with spicy basil cutting through it all; there are oyster mushrooms sauteed to the height of their glory, becoming everything they ever wanted to be and glistening with fat and spice. Every small plate you get is a gem unto itself. It's not cheap; plates cost $18-$22 a pop and several must be ordered to be satiated. But for what it is, it's not overpriced. Avant Garden, in price and flavor and ambiance, is just right.

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Oregon: The Cornbread Cafe

oregon the cornbread cafe interior
Courtesy of Emobie Photography

Ahh, Oregon. Portland's plethora of vegan options could be a "50 best" roundup on their own. The Cornbread Cafe is in Eugene, but might be better than most of the eateries in Portland (and that's high praise). The fact that Guy Fieri visited it on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives cues you into its style of cuisine: comforting, caloric, deep fried. All great things. Cornbread Cafe takes pride in veganizing Southern staples, and you'd be hard pressed to find a restaurant that does it better. The cajun seasoning on the fries is perfectly salty and moreish, and the crust on the chicken fried tempeh crackles in all the right ways. Their white gravy is rich, specked with pepper; the accompanying biscuit perfectly flaky; and the vegan mac hits that cheesey note without being overly nutritional yeast-y. The Eugenia-wich is a thing of deep fried glory: it's a crispy fried tofu patty piled high with Daiya cheddar, carrot bacon, and deep-fried onion matchsticks that will eliminate the need to use chapstick for a week. Of course, this is what Guy Fieri ordered. As a plus, almost everything on the menu can be ordered gluten-free: Celiacs often get left out on the most indulgent vegan options on menus, and we're glad to say that's not the case here.

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South Carolina: Jack of Cups

south carolina jack of cups vegan restaurant
Courtesy of Leslie Ryann McKellar

Everyone knows four stars on Yelp doesn't mean anything. But five stars, and a solid five stars, after 100+ reviews? That's kind of remarkable. The menu at Jack of Cups seems all over the place: there are butternut squash ravioli and strawberry spring rolls and vegetable korma with pork belly add ons and green curry mac and cheese with pickled onion. Just go with it. "Made from scratch" is a throwaway phrase that many restaurants use, but with Jack of Cups, you can taste it. The fact that it's able to execute such a diverse menu so well is nothing short of impressive. Get the nachos: slathered in jalapeno queso, curried black beans and bright peach salsa. We don't understand it either. But, like poetry, this is enjoyment that passes comprehension.

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Pennsylvania: Vedge

pennsylvania vedge restaurant
Courtesy of Yoni Nimrod

Though it doesn't use the term in its marketing, Vedge is indeed vegan. Perhaps it shirks that word because of its limiting connotations, but Vedge's cuisine is chef-driven to rival anything you could order at Chez Panisse. Its ssamjang glazed tofu is deservedly one of the most popular items, slathered in a sweet, salty, fermented ssamjang and lightened with cucumber, edamame purée, sea beans. Toasted nori adds complexity. Still, there are other vegetable-forward plates that better showcase chef owners' Kate Jacoby's and Rich Landau's culinary prowess. There's a rutabaga fondue that's utterly silky, and comes with a salted pretzel for dipping; there's smoked eggplant with cured olive and salsa verde that we could eat whole platters of. Both are utterly craveable. We don't believe there is anything inherently superior about a vegetable-centric restaurant as opposed to one that offers the pleasure of mock meats. But to purvey vegetables with this level of subtlety and expertise is a feat indeed, and the New York Times agrees. There are many casual spots on our list, because we believe that plant-based cuisine should be accessible and affordable (although that's of course a relative term). Vedge is one of the few elevated spots that merits the nomination.

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South Dakota: Sanaa's

south dakota vegan friendly places to eat
Courtesy of Sanaa Abourezk

It's no secret that some global cuisines lend themselves more naturally to vegetarian eating, and Sanaa's does a commendable job of showcasing vegetable-forward Middle Eastern-inspired dining. There are the recognizable eggplant moussakas and olive tapenades that match your expectations; there are also samosa-like fatayers filled with falafel, and shish-ba-rak, a beguiling combination of cheesy lentils and ravioli, slathered in a minty yogurt broth. Almost everything is labeled as vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free, and if you fall into any of those categories and happen to be in Sioux Falls, visiting Sanaa's is a must. (Also, she was on Beat Bobby Flay and she almost won, which we think is amazing.)

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vegan restaurants avo inc in tennessee
Courtesy of AVO Inc.

First of all, this restaurant is cooler than your restaurant because it's in large shipping container. It only gets greener from there. Avo is all vegan and raw, which means that none of the food is heated beyond 118 degrees. Don't let that dissuade you though. There's a lentil burger with sprouted lentils and walnuts, topped with cashew cheese; a flax crust pizza with a savory nut-based ranch; zucchini noodle pad thai. Dishes are fresh and flavorful, and surprisingly filling. In a city where barbecue abounds (and there are some great vegan versions of it, most notably at The Wild Cow), it's refreshing to see a restaurant so confident in its plant-based prowess that it goes completely in the opposite direction. Avo is clean, bright, and modern: both in culinary approach and decor (there's a live plant wall, lots of natural light, and did we mention it's in a shipping container?). Most of all, it puts a certain cool caché on plant-based culture in a way that's aspirational: and the vegan community is better for it. Also, there are blended avocado margaritas that are not to be missed.

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Vermont: Revolution Kitchen

vermont revolution kitchen
Courtesy of Brent Harrewyn / Hoverfly Photography

In a town as reputedly crunchy as Burlington, it was astonishing that there wasn't one fully vegetarian restaurant until 2013. That's when Revolution Kitchen opened. It's at once modern yet casual, with exposed brick walls and showers of microgreens on plates–but not gratuitously so. It offers Vietnamese-inspired plates, but to call it an Asian restaurant would be reductive. There are moreish nachos, which are actually triangular deep fried wontons stuffed to look like tortilla chips, filled with guacamole, salty cashew queso, and cuban black beans; we could eat a hundred of these. The rice paper spring rolls are also excellent, bursting with fat chunks of lemongrass-scented tofu and stuffed with rice noodles and mint, with a bright peanut sauce for dipping. The Prik King stir fry is also a must get, featuring silken Japanese eggplant and soft tofu that melts in your mouth, swimming in a ginger-spiked curry. It's exactly the kind of restaurant that Burlington needs, and we're glad it's here. Vegan and gluten-free options are clearly marked and plentiful.

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Texas: Bouldin Creek Cafe

texas bouldin creek
Courtesy of Lisa Goodell

A neighborhood institution on South First, Bouldin is a local standby. It does justice to what Austin does so well: the breakfast taco. While finding vegetarian tacos are a breeze, a solid vegan scramble is a rarer beauty. The tofu has to be firm and toothsome, and you'd be surprised how often it is grossly under-seasoned. Not at Bouldin. The Tofu Ren is a must get, featuring dense tofu with a texture that doesn't necessarily mimic egg, but holds its own as a protein. It's sauteed with caramelized peppers, onions, and garlic, and mixed with a bold helping of nutritional yeast. (If you're unfamiliar with nutritional yeast, it doesn't look like traditional yeast at all. Rather, it's a larger yellow flake that has a je ne sais quoi nutty, musty cheese note not unlike a parmesan, sans the salt.) Breakfast and brunch is where Bouldin is at its best, perhaps, but they also offer a killer chickpea "chicken" salad–reverse pun intended. It's not of the texture of meat in any way, but is utterly satisfying in its own right.

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Utah: Buds

utah buds sandwich shop vegan friendly
Courtesy of Aurea Lux Photography

Buds gets props for not only being all vegan, but also making delectable sandwiches with soy-based plant protein so it's actually gluten free. (Most meat substitutes rely on seitan, which isn't.) For those who are craving something meaty, opt for the Pizzasteak sandwich: it's basically a cheese steak with marinara sauce, chock full with soy-based pepper steak and slathered in smoky cheese sauce. The star of the menu, however, is the barbacoa burrito, which uses jackfruit. If you've never had jackfruit, contrary to the name, it's not sweet because it's actually brined; when slathered in sauce, it looks uncannily like pulled pork (google it). The jackfruit at Buds is dunked in a chipotle barbecue sauce that's just the right amount of smoky, spicy and sweet. Although lighter than its soy meat counterparts, it's combined with black beans for added weight. The burrito also features guacamole, cabbage and ginger (?!) sour cream–just go with it. It works.

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Virginia: Fresca on Addison

virginia fresca on addison
Courtesy of Jay Paul

If you only eat one thing here, make it the lentil burger. The patty's on the softer side, not as toothsome as some veggie patties, but that's a good thing here. It's perfectly moist without being mealy, like lentils can sometimes be. Slathered with avocado, punctuated with the crunch of red onion and romaine, it's a perfect, singular object. If you're feeling peckish, get the curried butternut squash soup on the side. Just on the thicker side of brothy, it's lighter than many squash soups, but still deep with flavor from the spice and rounded out with coconut milk. There are also tacos and brick oven pizzas in this vegetarian-only casual café, but the sandwiches and burgers take the cake. Fresca is run by Jenna Sneed, who turned vegetarian at the tender age of nine and never looked back; her father, who also runs the cafe, still eats meat. Their partnership is emblematic of what plant-based cuisine should and could be: transcending boundaries, generations, and appealing to omnivores and vegans alike.

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Washington: Plum Vegan Bistro

seattle washington
Jose Luis Stephens / Getty Images

While Seattle isn't known for its vegan scene like Portland or L.A., the fact is that it might be easier to be vegan here than almost anywhere else. Some of the city's best plant-based plates aren't at vegetarian restaurants at all, but at traditional ones that have designed meat-free dishes with amazing care. That said, if we had to pick just one restaurant, it would probably be Plum. It's on the elevated side of casual while being contemporary and modern, and nestled right off Capitol Hill's Pike / Pine corridor. Inside, it's a cozy if bustling escape from the city's gray. Plum's Mama Africa salad is the salad for people who don't do salads: it's well thought out with a balance of warm and cold, citrus and fat, salt and sweet. It's topped with warm toasty millet and tempeh, which can sometimes be bitter, but here it has a clean finish. For all you "I can make this salad at home" people, this is what you should be ordering. The French onion soup is also a standout, with a broth that is incredibly nuanced and doesn't just taste like veggie stock (sadly, the case with many vegan French Onion soups. None of the food at Plum is sensationally innovative or over the top, it's simply well executed and good. And that's what food should be.

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Wyoming: Sweet Melissa's Cafe

wyoming sweet melissa cafe
Courtesy of Sweet Melissa Cafe

Sweet Melissa's is the kind of place you'd stop at if you were driving through Laramie, just because it looks adorable–and you'd be pleasantly surprised that it's vegetarian. Behind a Pinterest-worthy storefront on a classically Western main street, red leather booths and exposed brick beckon. Take a seat and order their black bean burger with artichoke relish, and top it vegan cheese and smoky umami-esque tempeh bacon. The reuben comes perfectly buttered and crisped on both sides, oozing with Swiss and portabello. (Vegan cheese and is also an option, and there's vegan queso too.) Wash it all down with a mojito or vegetarian bloody mary (Worcestershire, a common ingredient, traditionally relies on the umami power of anchovies). The bar here is apparently one of the oldest in the state. If you're looking for dining options in Laramie, this is truly one of the best: plant-based or otherwise.

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Wisconsin: Green Owl Cafe

Wisconsin hankr green owl cafe
Courtesy of Green Owl Cafe /

Vegans, you have come home. The vegan buffalo chicken bites are ah-mazing, and the coating is not unlike that of a chicken McNugget (in the best way possible). Add buffalo sauce and cool, creamy vegan ranch, and we could order about ten plates of these. For those seeking to branch out a bit, the kale crisps are a must get appetizer, with the jackfruit carnitas quesadilla coming in a close second. They have just the right ratio of jackfruit to vegan cheese to rice and beans. There's also a roasted veggie sandwich with caramelized beets and sweet potatoes; at first it might seem like carb overload, but it works. The Green Owl Cafe is Madison at its coziest.

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West Virginia: Bluegrass Kitchen

west virginia ipanema cafe
Courtesy of Keeley Steele

When you go to Bluegrass Kitchen, if you're tempted by the pickle brined fried chicken and pan seared trout, we don't blame you. But, if you were to order the mock chicken and dumplings, or the tofu and quinoa veggie burger in addition, we're wagering you'd be pleasantly surprised. Bluegrass Kitchen is so remarkable because, like a few other places on our list, it offers craveable vegetarian alternatives when it doesn't need to. Its meat options are drive more than enough traffic; having a couple salads on the menu to appease vegetarians would be the easy thing to do. But the blackened tofu salad goes above and beyond, as do the deep fried tofu wings. We'll admit that there are only a couple of options here that are strictly vegan–you have to hold the ranch with the wings, for example. But it's still more accommodating than most places, by a long stretch. The draw of the "wings" is their breading, which is very similar to that of their fried chicken–the kind of crackly coating that comes off in big chunks. If you eat dairy, the menu opens up much more, offering a housemade ricotta and a beer-laced cheese fondue which is utterly moreish. However, for being what it is, Bluegrass Kitchen makes plant-based fare better than it has to: which is to say, satisfyingly good.

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