By Megan Vick
With an increase in people, including celebrities, “going vegan,” more and more businesses are beginning to address this niche. Of course, the mecca for veganism has been southern California, but now, it seems to be growing by leaps and bounds nationwide! Vegan restaurants are popping up in all 50 states, with an increasing number of veg restaurants in North Carolina. From Murphy to Manteo, veganism is growing in NC thanks to more public information from documentaries, celebrities, and transplants from other states.
Asheville has one of the best, most pronounced vegan communities by far. With several restaurants in downtown offering vegan fare (and a lot of it), veganism isn’t some weird fad, it’s a welcomed lifestyle choice. From vegan handbags and shoes to vegan food, Asheville’s veg community is growing and thriving.
Charlotte has (from what I hear) another thriving vegan community. I haven’t been to the Queen City in about 20 years, but the website Queen City Vegan, has restaurants, markets, and stores for veg-heads in and around Charlotte.
The Triangle has had a huge increase in veg-friendly restaurants in just the 3 years I’ve lived here. Not to mention nearly every restaurant has a vegetarian friendly meal (or can make one to order). I’ve been to numerous restaurants where I can sub out the meat for sauteed mushrooms! It’s always delicious! Some great restaurants in the area include The Remedy, Mellow Mushroom, and Sage Vegetarian Café. With cool places like Harmony Farms and the Carrboro Farmers Market, you’ll never be short somewhere to shop for vegan and organic goodies.
Wilmington is another city I haven’t seen in 7 years or so, but I hear some fantastic things from the vegan community. Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn (and Flaming Amy’s Bowl) can fix you something right nice if you’re vegan. Also, be sure to check out Nick’s Diner on Front Street. They have a separate vegetarian menu and have a few vegan dishes too.
The Outer Banks is also creeping up in the world of veganism. With places like Zen Pops, Kind Confections Vegan Bakery, and Bad Bean OBX, you’ll have everything you need for a vacation! Other restaurants, like Tortuga’s Lie, Lafogata, and Café Lachine may also have something for you. One of my favorite restaurants, The Brine and Bottle, has even been making a few vegetarian dishes, like butternut squash gnocchi. Call ahead for this restaurant though; they book up quickly and their menu changes frequently.
What other restaurants in North Carolina give you southern hospitality and vegan cuisine? Share some of your favorites with us!