Veganism is having more than a moment—it is gradually becoming mainstream. In the United States, where a traditional “meat and potatoes” diet has long been the norm, there has been a huge push in recent years towards a number of popular variations on alternative, plant-based diets. While in 2009, only 0.5% of the population in the United States said they followed a vegan diet, that number increased by over 5x in just the next three years—a trend in-line with growth of vegan-related Google keyword searches.
In response to both need and opportunity, the nationwide restaurant industry has capitalized on this heightened interest in veganism. The number of all-vegan restaurants has expanded greatly, and will continue to grow —nearly 20 years ago there were just 55 all-vegan restaurants; today there are more than 660, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG).
Which U.S. state do you think has the most number of all-vegan restaurants? Health I.Q. used the data from VRG — an all-vegan online resource, to rank the order of states leading the way in all-vegan restaurants.
Massachusetts, with a population of 6.7 million, has 22 vegan restaurants scattered throughout the relatively small state. Popular options: Grasshopper (Allston), Zhu Pan-Asian Vegan Cuisine (Arlington), Organic Garden Café (Beverly) and Masao’s Kitchen (Waltham).
Washington State, a little bigger with 7 million people, boasts 27 tasty locations. Unique in the variety of options, Seattle plays home to Araya’s Place, Chaco Canyon Organic Café, Flying Apron, Mighty O Donuts and Harvest Beat. Quickie Too and Viva Tacoma have quickly become most popular in the Tacoma region.
8. Rhode Island
7. New Hampshire
The 5 vegan restaurants in New Hampshire, a state of 1.3 million people are Willow’s Plant Based Eatery (Concord), Country Life Restaurant (Keene), Susty’s Café (Northwood) and The Juicery (Portsmouth).
Hawaii has 6 vegan restaurants for 1.4 million people. Loving Hut, a Honolulu-based eatery, has become so popular it now has two locations across the island. The other vegan restaurants are Coconut Glen’s (Hana), Greens and Vines (Honolulu) and Peace Café (Honolulu).
California, well-known for its abundance of vegan offerings, boasts the largest number of vegan restaurants, at 168, in a state of 39 million people.
Los Angeles by itself has 30 vegan restaurants. Popular ones include Azla Vegan, Chavela, Crossroads Kitchen, Fala Bar, La Vegan Thai and Vegan House. For the Norcal vegans, enjoy San Francisco’s popular options: Vegetarian Restaurant, Golden Era Vegan Restaurant, Gracias Madre, Indochine Vegan and Nourish Café.
4. New York
New York boasts 86 vegan restaurants, a huge number despite a population of 20 million people.
New York City has 55 vegan restaurants. Buddha Bodai, By Chloe, Candle 79, Caravan of Dreams are popular options to explore in New York city. Brooklyn is home to several vegan restaurants such as Dun-Well Doughnuts, Jungle Cafe, Little Choc Apothecary, Riverdel. Spring Valley’s Caribreeze, Syracuse’s Strong Heart Cafe and Woodstock’s Garden Café on the Green are others to visit in the state.
Maine may be particularly surprising. The state has 3 vegan restaurants for a population of just over one million.
Oregon’s population is only four million, so while there are only 22 vegan restaurants across the state, that equates to 5.5 restaurants per million people, making it the top state for all-vegan restaurants.
The state offers a wide array of choices that go beyond the expected fare. Veggie Grill (Beaverton), Next Level Burger (Bend), Cornbread Café (Eugene), Blossoming Lotus (Portland), Farm Spirit (Portland) and Native Foods (Tigard) are few of the popular options.
1. District of Columbia
Washington D.C. and the surrounding area boasts the highest volume of vegan restaurants per capita. While there are only 10 all-vegan restaurants in the area, that equates to nearly 15 restaurants per million people.
D.C. has an eclectic mix of cuisine, and many establishments offer interesting vegan alternatives. NuVegan is a new concept that serves vegan soul food: vegan mac and cheese, collard greens — even a fried chicken sandwich (with a bean curd filet). The other popular vegan restaurants are Evolve Vegan Restaurant, Senbeb Cafe and Soupergirl.
The states with the fewest restaurants per capita are Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, which do not have any all-vegan restaurants at all, according to data from VRG. It is worth noting, however, that Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota all have populations of less than one million people.
While the number of vegan offerings do vary based on location, there has been an increased demand for alternative diets in recent years. The restaurant industry has worked to accommodate this demand, and in many places, the trend has become quite mainstream.