Anyone might guess that progressive Los Angeles would have loads of vegan restaurants. I mean, the city did embrace Meatless Mondays and ban pet stores from selling cats, dogs, and rabbits from animal breeders and puppy mills. And Norfolk, Virginia, where PETA is headquartered, naturally caters to vegans. Because you can get pretty much any kind of food you want any time of day in New York City, that one isn’t a huge stretch either.
But three of the top vegan-friendly cities in the U.S. might be surprise you: Richmond, Virginia; Salt Lake City; and Las Vegas.
When Patrick Henry stood in Richmond and declared, “Give me liberty or give me death!” he was quite possibly referring to his inherent freedom to choose plant-based foods that don’t contribute to heart disease, strokes, or cancer. Okay, maybe not, but this legendary city is still making history with a plethora of meat-free restaurants, including Phoenix Garden, Rooster Cart, Harrison St. Café, Ipanema, and RVA Vegan, a compassionate bakery. And 821 Cafe‘s curried “chicken” salad and fried artichoke hearts are the perfect all-American end to a day spent tracing our nation’s history.
The Crossroads of the West is quickly becoming the Crossroads of the Vegans. When the Sundance Film Festival comes to nearby Park City, film buffs hop over to Salt Lake City to nosh on vegan cheesesteaks, pancakes stuffed with French fries, and dairy-free ice cream and chocolate sauce. Sage’s Cafe is a favorite stop, serving up dishes that resemble edible works of art. Another plant-based SLC classic, City Cakes & Cafe in the heart of downtown, serves everything from potatoes au gratin and “Mac n’ Chezah!” to chocolate chip peanut butter bars and cinnamon rolls. Then there’s City Dogs, famous for its customizable Not Dogs, and the Vertical Diner, whose faux-chicken sandwich is one of the country’s best.
Perhaps Sin City isn’t so sinful after all. With guilt-free and cruelty-free dishes such as Wynn Resorts‘s Chick’n Parmigiano and vegan dim sum, what happens in Vegas could help keep you healthy and fit for all the pool parties. Miko’s Izakaya Sushi and Go Raw Café offer fish-free rolls with ingredients such as mock salmon and almond cheese, and the aptly named Slice of Vegas pizza offers Daiya cheese, Gardein faux meats, and a to-die-for vegan chocolate cake.
Michelle Kretzer learned about factory farming while pursuing a degree in Journalism at the University of Kentucky. She immediately stopped eating meat and dedicated herself to the cause of animal rights. When she is not writing for PETA, Michelle enjoys doting on her German shepherd mix, Hannah, traveling, collecting Beatles memorabilia, and finding great cruelty-free shoes and bags.