5 Family-Friendly Vegan Eats in New York
(That hopefully turn your family on to veganism)
Depending on the person, responses to my switch to veganism range from simple curiosity to condescending insults. But the one thing that remains consistent throughout this plethora of varying responses is the notion that all vegan food is phooey fake-meat and rabbit food. Luckily for vegans in New York, there’s no better place to be a vegan than in a city like NYC – these awesome and family friendly vegan eateries have food so yummy that even the most devout omnivore would consider going vegan!
Champs Diner (East Williamsburg)
The moment I realized I was a real-life vegan, I was filled with despair at the thought that I would never again taste the quintessential amazingly unhealthy, greasy flavour of classic American diner food. I was ecstatic to find out about Champs Diner – a super cute and super retro vegan diner in East Williamsburg. Everything in Champs Diner may be vegan, but that doesn’t mean it’s all kale and carrots – pancakes are stacked and decorated with powdered sugar and chocolate, french fries are the perfect level of oiliness, and the shakes are creamy and can be topped with sprinkles and cake. If you miss sitting in an old-school americana diner and eating huge burgers with a side of sausages and fries, this is the place for you! (beware – it gets super crowded on the weekends)
Seasoned Vegan (Harlem)
If you thought that soul food is intrinsically non-vegan, think again. Seasoned Vegan deliciously breaks this conviction by proving that good soul food can also be plant-based. As your typical brooklynite-avocado-enthuthiast, I had to get the stuffed avocado. Filled above the brim with goodness (vegan cheese, fresh “pico de gallo,” and vegan meat), I completely forgot that what I was eating was vegan midway through shoveling it all into my mouth. But the stuffed avocado is, without question, not the only sensational dish there – the Po’ boy was as succulent and delectable as it was seasoned, and the crunchy and flavourful lemon crusted chicken nuggets left me questioning if I was eating actual chicken. Even my dubious carnivore friend said it “blew her socks off.” Vegan or not, you must come here.
Van Leeuwen (Boerum Hill, Prospect Heights)
Grab your flowy, floral dresses and straw hats because Boerum Hill’s Van Leeuwen looks like it’s straight off of a suburban German cobble-stone street. Before I was a real-life vegan, Van Leeuwans creamy ice cream and dreamy storefront made it my absolute favorite ice cream store. Of course, I paid no mind to the vegan options because how on earth would vegan ice cream parallel Van Leeuwans delightfully smooth and rich milk based ice cream? I was woefully mistaken – Van Leeuwen’s vegan ice cream did a triple full layout over my uninformed assumptions. Their vegan flavors, like oat milk and cookies, cookie crumble strawberry jam, or salted caramel, are just as rich, creamy and bursting with flavour as their non vegan options. Visit this enchanting ice cream shop to have your families misconceptions about vegan ice cream proved sorely wrong
Screamer’s Pizza (Crown Heights)
Stop worrying and learn to love vegan pizza by making the trek to Franklin Avenue (my favorite street in Brooklyn) in Crown Heights to nosh on some yummy vegan pizza. While the slightly off texture of the cheese might leave some dairy-eaters very dismissive of Screamer’s Pizza, I must say that I was very impressed with the progress in vegan cheese. Just the sight of pies of tasty tomato sauce, delightfully sauteed onions, vegan meats, melted faux-mozzarella, and even piles of mac n’ cheese that lined the glass cases atop the glass counter lit with neon purple LED lights was enough to make my pizza deprived stomach rumble and tastebuds water. As pizza goes, this pizza is relatively average. As vegan pizza goes, Screamers Pizza is the absolute best!
Peacefood Cafe (Union Square area)
This part cafe – part restaurant is the spot to go if you’re a lost and hungry vegan with a sweet tooth in the Union Square area. Named “Peacefood Cafe” because the founders believe peace starts from ones plate, I wholeheartedly agree that peace starts from sweet carrot cakes, pungent chickpea fries with creamy sauces, magical cookies, spicy caesar salad, vegan cheeseburgers, and lovely strawberry shortcakes. While the normal food here is always a hit or miss (at least for me), the relaxed setting and pastry counter has completely won my vegan, sugar fiend heart over.