The #1 ranking might surprise you.
The days of vegetarian menu choices being either a sad side salad or defrosted veggie burger are coming to an end around the country, as more and more people start to see the health and environmental benefits of reducing their meat intake. More restaurants are adapting to higher demands for plant-based products, and are also sourcing more organic and local foods.
Apartment Guide just released their list of the top 10 cities in America for vegetarians, based on the amount of vegan, vegetarian, and organic businesses per resident. And the results were pretty surprising. Sure, more progressive cities such as Portland and Berkeley made the list (both have long histories of vegetarian and vegan cuisine.) But four out of the 10 cities can be found south of the Mason-Dixon line, proving the vegetarian movement is not just for West Coasters. Here’s who made the list.
10. Richmond, Virginia
This foodie city snagged the tenth spot on the list, as it has been serving up vegan and vegetarian meals since before they were trendy. Richmond boasts 50 vegetarian and 24 vegan eateries.
9. Portland, Oregon
With over 100 vegetarian establishments and almost 90 vegan spots, Portland deserves a spot on this list. This city was a trailblazer in meat-free dining and is known especially for its incredible vegan pizza!
8. Orlando, Florida
The land of Mickey and Minnie is also home to some incredible vegetarian and vegan restaurants, and residents have almost 100 to choose from. Disney World itself is becoming more veg-friendly too; it’s home to a vegan bakery and has dozens of meatless options in all four theme parks.
Best Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Spots in Orlando
Market on South: One of our staffers grew up in Orlando and said this place is a must for herbivores and omnivores, whether you’re looking for a hearty meal or just something to satisfy your sweet tooth. They are most famous for their vegan donuts, but they serve a mean brunch, too.
The Sanctum Cafe: Also popular for its plant-based brunch, The Sanctum is a haven for those looking for a wholesome and creative meatless meal. From gourmet nachos to inventive salads, and even fantastic lattes, this is a great stop for anyone with a hankering for fresh food.
7. Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is the perfect place to find meatless sustenance after a long day out on the slopes. The city calls almost 75 vegetarian and vegan restaurants home.
6. Savannah, Georgia
This charming, Southern town has a booming art scene and over 50 meatless dining locales across the city. Whether you’re looking for Southern comfort food with a vegetarian twist, or innovative, plant-based dish, Savannah has it all.
5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Philly may be home to the cheesesteak, but Pitt is home to over 100 vegetarian and vegan establishments. The mayor of Pittsburgh himself proclaimed every Monday to be Meatless Monday in 2016, so you know they take their veggies seriously!
4. Ann Arbor, Michigan
This college town is currently ranked the most-educated city in America, but it’s also one of the most vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Whether you’re on campus looking for a bite between classes, or are in town for a football game, there are over 40 spots where meat is off the menu.
Looking for some easy and delicious meatless recipes?
- 33 Simple Vegetarian Recipes
- One-Pot Vegetarian Meals
- Here Are 52 Plant-Based Recipes So You Can Celebrate Meatless Monday All Year
3. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is home to many vegetarian and vegan food brands, such as Birch Benders, Earth Balance, West Soy Tofu, and Justin’s, so it’s no secret its restaurant scene is veg-friendly. This college town also boasts over 40 meat-free eateries.
2. Berkeley, California
The home to UC-Berkeley and “Vegan Monday” naturally snags one of the top spots on this list. Berkeley packs almost 50 vegetarian or vegan establishments in its 18 square miles, and the whole bay area is a destination for dining on innovative plant-based cuisine.
1. Charleston, South Carolina
It’s a little surprising to learn the city with the most meatless dining establishment per capita is in the Southeastern part of the U.S., but we trust Charleston is serving up some of the best plant-forward dishes. With almost 60 locales boasting no meat or animal products at all, this is sure to be the next city on any vegetarian’s list.
Best Vegetarian/Vegan Spots in Charleston
Jack of Cups Saloon: Leave it to Charleston to give us the most unexpected vegetarian eatery—a saloon! With almost 200 five-star Yelp reviews, we trust this is the place to be. Whether you’re looking for a veggie-packed Massamaan curry or a comforting bowl of beer mac and cheese to accompany a frothy pint, there is (oddly) something for everyone!
Gnome Cafe: This breakfast and lunch spot serves up such delicious meals that meat eaters are obsessed. Whether you’re looking for a taste of Southern comfort with their hemp sausage biscuit with pepper jelly, or want to ramp up your veggie intake with the pad thai salad, you’ll find it here. With almost 160 five-star Yelp reviews, we are dying to stop in on our next trip.