11 Black-Owned Vegan Restaurants In NYC
These Black-owned restaurants make some of the best plant-based food in the city.
Forget avocado toast—some of the best vegan restaurants in the city serve food with Caribbean, African, and Southern influences. The Black-owned vegan restaurants on this list range from takeout counters stacked with Jamaican “beef” patties to excellent Ethiopian restaurants and an upscale soul food spot in the East Village. (And yes, some of these restaurants also make very good avocado toast.)
photo credit: David A. Lee
Ras Plant Based
Ras Plant Based is one of the only spots in the city specializing in plant-based Ethiopian food like tender mushroom tibs and meat-free dulet, and it’s also an excellent date night spot. Come here to eat injera with your person in a dimly lit hideaway full of colorful murals, or have one too many drinks on the upbeat patio outside. Romance has been part of Ras since its conception—it’s the restaurant love child of a married couple that met while working at Awash in Cobble Hill.
photo credit: Cadence
Cadence is a vegan restaurant in the East Village that specializes in Southern soul food. It’s from the team behind a bunch of other upscale vegan spots like Ladybird, Avant Garden, and Proletariat, and it’s the only place in the city where you’ll find dishes like smoked grits with fried oyster mushrooms, collard greens stuffed with succotash, and Southern fried lasagna with pine nut ricotta. If you’re planning a special occasion date night or birthday dinner with friends who don’t eat meat, give this spot a try.
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Vegan Hood’s fried chicken has expertly seasoned skin, but the pea protein faux chick’n underneath doesn’t taste like an afterthought either. It only gets better from there: The super cheesy mac and cheese is nice and gooey, and the greens are brimming with flavor. They’ve nailed these soul food classics, but we’re most impressed with the oxtail. The faux meat has a velvety and chewy texture in all the right places, and it comes covered in gravy that we’d happily eat alone with their rice and peas. Come by on the weekend to enjoy a lively brunch scene on the patio with what feels like all of Frederick Douglass Blvd.
photo credit: SoulKofa
Soulkofa’s big blue awning reads “Vegan Health Food,” but they’re selling themselves short. They sell vegan African, Caribbean, and other miscellaneous foods that have a super homemade quality. The chickpea crab cakes and jerk chicken are our go-to orders, but the surprisingly smooth mac and cheese deserves a nod as well. It’s less grainy than the vegan mac you find at most other spots and more like Velveeta. There’s no seating here, so plan to get stuff to go.
photo credit: Urban Vegan Kitchen
Urban Vegan Kitchen
Southern fried “shrimp” and shiitake bacon mac are the move at Urban Vegan Kitchen, a West Village spot from the team behind Blossom, an upscale vegan restaurant that opened back in 2005. The shrimp works best in po’boy form with their tangy remoulade, and you should get the creamy cashew mac topped with shiitake bacon for some added smokey flavor. They also make strong cocktails, so plan to stay for a couple rounds in the colorful space decked out with neon graffiti and goofy grayscale portraits of farm animals. You can also find the same casual fare at their sister restaurant Urban Vegan Roots in Queens.
photo credit: Greedi Vegan
At Greedi Vegan—the new, revamped location of longtime vegan mainstay Greedi Kitchen—you can eat life-changing soy fish and grits with country gravy in a chic dining room or on a cute back patio. Crispy oyster mushroom soul bowls and thick banana pudding are all they need to keep people coming through the door, but founder Latisha Daring also supports other Black-owned businesses by stocking their products and hosting cultural events that help keep Black dollars circulating within the community. Check their IG for future happenings.
photo credit: @uptownvegnyc
Uptown Veg has been feeding upper Manhattan’s vegan population since the '90s. Since then, the father-daughter duo behind the place has opened a second Harlem location that focuses on salads and juice, and there’s a third Bed-Stuy location in the works. The original spot sells everything from plant-based chicken curry to Philly cheesesteaks that we find ourselves wanting to order even on our meat-eating days. The longtime Harlem business also serves the local unhoused community every night, seven days a week.
photo credit: Madelynne Boykin
As soon as you get up to the counter at this uber-popular chain from Atlanta, you’ll get a “Hey, slut” greeting. If it’s your first time here, someone will shout “We got a virgin!'' while ringing a cowbell. After this ritual, you’ll get vegan comfort food like a “chicken” sandwich and crinkle fries sprinkled with “slut dust.” Slutty Vegan's large burgers are solid and have a Burger King-like flame-broiled flavor, but our favorite thing here is the chopped cheese. Since this spot is takeout-only, eat your food right under the Comandante Biggie mural outside.
photo credit: Seasoned Vegan
This mother-and-son operation has been serving Harlem their plant-based soul food for more than a decade. You can tell the head chef has childhood roots in Louisiana as soon as you try the Cajun and Creole-leaning dishes on the menu, like their super tender signature lemon-crusted fish with nori fish skin and grilled burdock root crawfish smothered in bayou BBQ sauce. They’re currently only open for takeout, but we’re looking forward to the full return of one of the neighborhood’s favorite vegan hangout spots in the near future.
photo credit: @brianabalducciphoto
Aunts Et Uncles
Many of the best vegan restaurants are inherently innovative, and Flatbush Caribbean restaurant Aunts et Uncles is always surprising us with what they can churn out of their plant-based kitchen. Hearts of palm are transformed into fresh, herbaceous lobster rolls or subbed for saltfish in a fresh bake, and the dairy-free dough used for their patties is surprisingly flaky. The Brooklyn business is also a concept shop, where you can leisurely peruse through the clothes and books for sale while someone behind the counter makes you a chagaccino.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
There are several ways to approach a meal at Bunna, but your easiest and best route is The Feast: a giant plate of dishes like garlic collard greens, spicy red lentils, and kale salad with avocado (because we’re still in Brooklyn). The space also has a bar with Ethiopian-spiced margaritas and a decorated area at the center of the room where they do Ethiopian coffee ceremonies (“Bunna” translates to “coffee”) and sometimes host live music. Bring some friends to share your feast with.