Being Vegan in NYC
Sure, New York City is one of the most vegan-friendly cities around, and a guide on vegan dining really isn’t necessary since there are options everywhere you turn. But what if you need to go somewhere that has non-vegan options, as well? Or you’re on vacation and run out of shampoo? Or want to pick up groceries for your hotel room? Maybe you’re in the market for some really cool eco-friendly things that you can’t find at home. This article has you covered.
I recently stayed in the Manhattan area for a long weekend, and the number of vegan options was overwhelming! Let’s talk about some of the all-vegan restaurants first. Keep in mind that some of these restaurants have more than one location in NYC, and not all of them have the same menu and hours.
Marty’s V Burger (http://martysvburger.com/) – Delicious fast food. The original burger tastes like a Big Mac. They also have other burger varieties, a crabby patty, “drumstix,” salads, mac ‘n cheese, coleslaw, fries, and milkshakes! One of the cheaper restaurants I’ve seen, and they also use sustainable materials, such as paper wraps and plant plastic cups.
The Cinnamon Snail (https://www.cinnamonsnail.com/) – You may have heard of this establishment. It is one of the most popular vegan restaurants on the East Coast, and its food truck has been at Lancaster VegFest. Here, you will find very unique sandwiches and an amazing variety of baked goods.
Dunwell Doughnuts (https://www.dunwelldoughnuts.com/) – Pretty self-explanatory. This place carries a nice variety of donuts and coffee drinks, as well as tea. The location we visited had an ice cream sandwich option, too.
Terri (http://terrinyc.com/) – This restaurant seemed to market itself as a healthy on-the-go type of place, but there are seats to dine in (at least in the location we visited) if you would like to hang around. Very expensive for what you get. The location we visited was connected to a health club. The salad, wrap, and smoothie options for the health club customers made sense (and the high prices, too!). They also had comfort foods, such as a meatball sub and BBQ pulled pork. The prices are not online; probably because it would deter some people from visiting. They have breakfast items on the menu, but you can only purchase them early in the day. Both myself and the customer behind me tried to order breakfast for dinner, and were sadly told that we couldn’t. The food was very good. Just be prepared to spend some money.
The above four restaurants are the ones I visited on my most recent trip. Of course, there are hundreds of other vegan restaurants in NYC, such as Red Bamboo, Blossom, by Chloe, Champs Diner…The list is endless!
Brooklyn is not too far, and has great vegan options, as well. We trekked there by foot to visit Package Free (more on that place later). We were limited on time, so were not able to visit any restaurants there. Worth mentioning, though, are two particular vegan restaurants: Modern Love and Sol Sips. Modern Love (http://www.modernlovebrooklyn.com/) is owned by the famous Isa Chandra Moskowitz. It’s only open for dinner, except for brunch on Sundays. It considers itself “swanky vegan comfort food.” Soul Sips (https://sol-sips.business.site/) is a much more casual and affordable spot. So affordable, that it is actually “pay what you can afford.” The sliding-scale brunch is between $7-$15, and the restaurant says that they never turn anyone away. The goal of this restaurant is to make healthy food accessible to everyone.
Even the non-vegan restaurants in NYC have great vegan options. While I did not visit any of these restaurants, I walked by them, was intrigued, and made a note to myself to check them out in the future. CAVA (https://cava.com/) is a fast casual chain that has locations throughout the United States, but I have never heard of it until I saw it in New York. You build your own meal, which can be a salad, grain bowl, or pita sandwich. They have a few vegan spreads and dressings, roasted veggies and falafel for protein options, and a ton of veggies to add to your creation. Roast Kitchen (https://roastkitchen.com/) is also very vegan-friendly. In fact, it currently has “Fall in Vegan” as the first thing you see on its homepage. It is similar to CAVA, but has even more vegan options. You can build your own bowl or choose one of their creations, such as “Chilli Non Carne,” which is a Texas style chilli with soy protein and even vegan sour cream. A third great non-vegan restaurant is &pizza (https://andpizza.com/). This pizza chain restaurant has locations throughout the East Coast, and offers vegan cheese and vegan sausage. Of course, all-vegan restaurants sound better, but these are great options if not everyone in your party wants a vegan meal.
My main reason for visiting Brooklyn was to shop at a store called Package Free (https://packagefreeshop.com/). This store promotes plastic-free and zero-waste living. In my opinion, the products we buy are just as important as the food we eat. So many things are packaged in plastic or made of plastic, which is hurting the animals who we vegans strive to save. This store is not entirely vegan, but is extremely vegan-friendly. If you are looking for ways to reduce your environmental footprint, this is a great place to start. Save the turtles and buy some reusable straws! They also have a variety of reusable containers, bags, bottles, and items you may never have considered, such as bamboo toothbrushes and stainless steel razors. Additionally, they carry products from Meow Meow Tweet, which is a vegan company that makes natural and organic skincare items in sustainable packaging. Package Free also has an online store, so you can get all the goods sent straight to your home if you can’t make it to Brooklyn.
If you are staying in NYC and run out of health and beauty items or just want a pint of vegan ice cream, soymilk, or fresh fruits and veggies, Target has everything you need and more. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s also have locations here, so there are many great places to choose from. There are also several LUSH locations in NYC. Everything you could possibly want is just a walk away from the hotel. Being vegan in NYC is SO EASY!