From the busy streets of Tallahassee to the gulf port of St. Petersburg, black-owned vegan restaurants are serving plant-based, culturally-significant fare to their communities.
A new Gallup poll released earlier this year shows that across the board, Americans are cutting back on meat consumption as their eyes turn toward healthier alternatives. According to recent research, one in four Americans (23%) report eating less meat in the past year than they had previously, while the vast majority (72%) say they are eating the same amount of meat.
The Pew Research Center notes that this shift has been taking place over the past two decades. From concerns over the implications of GMOs in agriculture to economic influences, more Americans have started turning to veganism as a healthier and more affordable alternative diet.
Interestingly, the fastest growing vegan demographic is within communities of color with 31% of non-whites saying they are currently consuming less meat.
This number is on the rise especially within the African American community. While 3% of all Americans reportedly have switched over to veganism, that number increases to 8% for black households. While culturally impactful performers like Jay-Z and Beyoncé have been vocal supporters, black celebrities embracing of a plant-based lifestyle isn’t the only reason a growing number of African Americans are switching up their diets.
Black cultural cuisine has long included staples like collard greens, macaroni and cheese, candied yams and fried meats. Now, black-owned vegan restaurants are remixing those beloved dishes while providing their customer base with lighter options.
With veganism's popularity showing no signs of slowing down in the near future, these six Florida-based vegan restaurants are feeding their communities delicious, accessible and affordable plant-based food.Soul Veg Tallahassee Juice Bar & Cafe
Soul Veg in Tallahassee is no newcomer to the restaurant scene. The popular Tallahassee eatery began as a food truck peddling healthy food options to FAMU students in 1997. In 2009, Soul Veg opened a brick and mortar where it has been pumping out Caribbean and Southern staples ever since. The menu offers dining options such as red beans and rice, collard greens, mac n’ cheese and even a meatless sloppy joe. The cafe also houses a juice bar where patrons can order freshly made juices, smoothies and desserts.Bobby's Meals, Opa-locka
If you’re looking for an online menu before you choose to visit Bobby’s Meals, you won’t find it. Actually it’s pretty hard to find the restaurant too; it’s tucked between a couple of warehouses. What you will find are die hard fans who enthusiastically recommend the restaurant’s Carribean flavored vegan fare. The Miami-based menu includes regional favorites like rice and peas, stewed cabbage and jerked tofu as well as different juices such as sorrel, soursop and ginger.The New Vegan, Delray Beach
The New Vegan in Delray Beach was recently named one of the top 25 black-owned vegan restaurants in the U.S. One quick look at the extensive menu, and it's easy to see why. The restaurant offers customers a variety of options from cinnamon french toast and creamy dairy-free milkshakes to curry plantains and a famous falafel burger. They even occasionally offer jackfruit based fried chicken. No matter what you’re in the mood for flavor-wise, this establishment likely has something that will meet your craving.
Related: The New Vegan: Corey Jones’ family brings new restaurant to NorthwoodView this post on Instagram The Vegetarian Restaurant By Hakin, Miami
This Miami-based Carribean inspired vegan restaurant has made a name for itself by turning out mouth-watering treats such as pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and more. The eatery is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner where visitors can order up hearty plant-based blueberry pancakes with tofu scramble, meat-less short ribs served with rice and peas as well as a banh mi Vietnamese sandwich that is made with vegan ginger chicken, cucumbers, cabbage, cilantro and a spicy mayo.View this post on Instagram Ray’s Vegan Soul, St. Petersburg
Ray’s Vegan Soul, located in St. Petersburg, markets itself as the number one stop for plant-based soul food. Almost all of the food at Ray’s is made without gluten, soy, dairy, eggs and peanuts, all common allergens, but the omissions don’t take away from the undeniable flavor. The menu here includes treats like Southern black eyed peas, vegan pulled pork and crumbly cornbread. The restaurant also offers off-site catering for anyone interested in having a vegan-friendly meal service.
Related: Keto bakeries in Florida? They’re popping up all overDaJen Eats Cafe & Creamery, Eatonville
Who doesn’t love the icy rich flavors of ice cream? Thanks to DaJen Eats Cafe & Creamery, those looking for a dairy-free substitute can find a plethora of flavors. While the cafe serves Jamacian-styled vegan cuisine such as jerk “chick’n” sandwiches, cornmeal porridge and “hoax” tail lasagna, the ice cream shop on premises definitely deserves a visit. Flavors range from spiced rum raisin and smooth dark chocolate to lime-coconut and the famous red velvet cheesecake. Talk about a sweet treat.