Some cities are much more accommodating to vegetarians than others — while certain places have streets lined with cafés promising things like veggie burgers and tempeh, others are more concerned with burgers and barbecue. But as a healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle continues to seep into everyone’s consciousness, cities across the country are making room for leafy greens and meat-free dishes.
One might assume that a list of America’s most vegetarian-friendly cities would be West Coast heavy, favoring those more familiar with wheatgrass than, say, chicharrón. But CheapOair recently released their list of the country’s five most veggie-friendly destinations and it proves that despite bacon’s seemingly endless reign, this lifestyle is more widespread than one might think.
But what makes a city vegetarian-friendly? Surely it must be more than a high concentration of Real Food Daily locations. CheapOair looked into things like popular vegetarian dishes that draw carnivores and herbivores alike, the number of vegetarian-friendly grocery stores, and the city’s general vibe around vegetarianism. So, where do they think vegetarians can get the best eats without feeling like they’re settling for the only veggie item on a menu?
"Washington is making a bid to become the nation's capital of veggie dining. People on both sides of the aisle could surely reach a bipartisan consensus on the faux turkey club sandwich from Java Green, ratify the vegan pepperoni and mozzarella pizza at Busboys and Poets, and put an end to the gridlock for a trip to Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant (pictured) in nearby Falls Church, Virginia." (Photo courtesy of Flickr/steve loya)
"Portland's volcanoes may be extinct, but the city's vegan scene has erupted — enough to propel Portland into position as one of the top vegetarian-friendly city in the country. From the luscious lasagna at Papa G's Vegan Organic Deli to the sizzling TLP (tempeh, bacon, lettuce, and peppers) at Red and Black Café, to the barbecue tempeh platter at the Blossoming Lotus, vegans have plenty of reasons to visit Portland."
New York City
"New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Big Apple residents are clearly using those extra waking hours to think up some vegan variety recipes. With choices like the pumpkin noodles with sautéed vegetables at HanGawi, a marinated and grilled Bamburger or spaghetti and 'meatballs' at Red Bamboo, and spinach omelets, pesto noodles, or Unchicken Nachos at the all-vegan Caravan of Dreams, no wonder New Yorkers are staying up all night!"
"Going vegan in Albuquerque is easier than learning how to spell the city's name! You'll find tons of vegan options, such as the veggie chicken nuggets and boba tea at the Fei Health Café and the tofu scramble at Flying Star Café. Also check out both locations of Annapurna's World Vegetarian Café, offering a selection of vegan bakery items and ayurvedic cooking classes." (Photo courtesy of Flickr/see_Albuquerque)
"In the state capital, Austin is the home of the first Whole Foods supermarket as well as its vegan founder. Whether or not you keep a strict vegetarian diet, meet up with Vegans Rock Austin to socialize with other animal-friendly folks and try some scrumptious vegan chocolate triangles at Bouldin Creek Café or the shiitake taro bowl from NuAge Café. Mother’s Café is one of the most popular vegetarian restaurants —be sure to try the spicy tempeh enchiladas drenched in a creamy chipotle sauce while you’re there!"