18 Jan 15 Black-Owned Vegan Businesses to Watch in 2021
It’s safe to say that the Black vegan scene has reached its renaissance. No longer the novelty establishments they once were, Black-owned vegan businesses are not content to merely exist in the world – they’re here to thrive. With creative, culturally infused products; active involvement in causes ranging from environmental sustainability to the preservation of HBCUs; and thoughtful business models that increase accessibility to healthy food in underserved communities, these establishments are signaling that they’re here for both a good time and a long time.
While the list of Black-owned vegan restaurants continues to grow, below are a few of the standout businesses that are helping to shape the culture of Black vegan cuisine.
Plate of Hue – Los Angeles
For Plate of Hue, the Black vegan renaissance is both physical and spiritual. Their menu serves as a link between the past, present and future of Black culinary traditions. The Gardyn Gumbo is based in an “ancestor-inspired roux” and their Golden Mac n’ Cheese presents a more health-conscious alternative to a Sunday dinner staple. Their mission isn’t to convert people to a plants-only diet, but with celebrity catering clients like Lizzo and Tabitha Brown, they probably will.
The Vegan Hood Chefs – San Francisco
Motivated by the lack of access to healthy food within their community, the owners of The Vegan Hood Chefs set out to fill a culinary gap and build a sustainable future on top of it. That’s why they offer free nutritional education and cooking classes while continuously advocating for food justice in the Bay. Be on the lookout for their new food truck, where they’ll be dishing out staples like their Cajun Mac and Cheese, Jamaican Rice and Peas, Butternut Squash Soup and more.
MamaAunties Vegan Goodies – Los Angeles
“Veganism is not a ‘sacrifice.’ It is a joy.” That’s the quote customers see when they first arrive to MamaAuntie’s website, and owner PaSean Wilson takes that joy seriously. With more health-conscious versions of the sweets our mamas and aunties used to serve in church basement and family reunions, PaSean is making it so that we can still have our poundcake and lemon bundts – but without all the butter.
Chipper & Cheeky – Santa Clarita
Chipper & Cheeky is where nature, culture and creativity meet – all while catering to various food allergies. These plant-based, gluten free desserts are elegant enough to serve at your wedding reception and bold enough to satisfy the most flavor-driven foodies. Offerings include experimental delights like Chocolate Blood Orange Entremets, Peach Basil Tarts and Pomegranate-Pistachio-Hibiscus Mousse Cakes. The owner of Chipper & Cheeky also keeps her Nigerian heritage in mind, making vegan, gluten free versions of cultural favorites like chin chin and puff puff
Great Rising Vegan Doughnuts – Tallahassee
They were once voted the best vegan doughnuts in Atlanta, but now you can find them popping up in different locations around Tally. Catering to both the college crowd at FAMU and the city at large, they offer artisan, dairy-free doughnuts that are pulled “fresh-out-the-organic-coconut-oil.” You can get custom glazes and garnishes like their Lavender Doughnut, and depending on the season, you can get specialty flavors like chai spice, maple bacon, pumpkin glaze and apple cider.
Grass VBQ Joint – Stone Mountain
Whether it’s mock meat or a nutritious vegetable, the Grass VBQ Joint “stay smokin’ somethin’!” Using their signature blend of Georgia hickory, maple and cherry wood, they take seriously their distinction of being Atlanta’s first and only vegan BBQ joint. With side dishes that use market-fresh vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts, they’re meeting their mission to provide “traditional southern Q, without the guilt.”
Doux Vegan Doughnuts – Atlanta
Supporting Doux Vegan isn’t just good for your tastebuds and your plant-based lifestyle, it’s a great way to support a scrappy young culinary creative. Doux is a Cottage-Kitchen Certified bakery, run by a student. She creates box assortments with rotating flavors like matcha glaze, white chocolate macadamia, peppermint coca, praline pecan and apple ginger. Ordering is currently closed as she’s catching up on life after finals, but will pick back up in February 2021.
Slutty Vegan – Atlanta
Which one are you? A “Fussy Hussy”? A “Chik’n Head”? A “Side Heaux”? Either way, Slutty Vegan has a sandwich to spice up your plant-based diet. It’s been a blockbuster year for the three-year-old chain, as their revenue has increased 100% YoY – even in a pandemic – and they have plans to expand into Alabama and other yet-to-be-disclosed locations. Menu options include – among others – a New Orleans style vegan shrimp burger, a sweet jerk plantain sandwich and a plant-based bratwurst that are sure to get a rise out of your tastebuds.
Vegan With a Twist – New Orleans
From the Ground Philly to the Oyster Burger and BBQ Cauliflower Box with Teriyaki Fries, Vegan With a Twist is committed to turning your favorite foods vegan. They combine traditional prep methods with fresh ingredients while ensuring their food remains affordable. Holler at them on Tuesdays for $2 tacos.
Land of Kush – Baltimore
As its name implies, Land of Kush is bringing “ancient and natural concepts to modern society.” Having served the likes of Angela Davis and Stevie Wonder, the restaurant is known around Baltimore for its commitment to principles like environmentalism, sustainability and the basics of healthy eating. Check out their Kush BBQ Ribs, Chickpea Burger, Black-Eye Pea Fritters or Live Kale Salad.
Legendary Burger – DMV
Legendary Burger is empowering people to cook plant-based meals at home. Their often sold-out packages of gourmet burger patties – infused with various flavors and accompanied by their “legendary sauce” – provide the foundations for you to make your meal how you like it. Need more guidance? They’re also educating people on plant-based food-prep by hosting regular livestreams with co-founder and chef J. Jackson on their Instagram page. But consuming their healthy ingredients doesn’t just give you’re an opportunity to support your own body, but to support HBCUs. A portion of the proceeds from their “HBCU Legendary” pack is donated to historically Black colleges and universities.
Gigi’s Vegan + Wellness Cafe – Kansas City
Gigi’s Vegan + Wellness Cafe is redefining what it means to be a conscious business. Big on sustainability and zero waste, they use eco-friendly material in all of their to-go packaging and avoid the use of plastics as often as possible. Customers also receive 5% off each time they return their glass juice bottles. Try Gigi’s new line of kale chips, which come in flavors like Spicy Kick Ass Kale and Kansas City Kale Bar-B Que.
Vegan Vibrationz – Dallas
Step into a new state of consciousness with herb-infused offerings from Vegan Vibrationz. Their 4/20-friendly menus include coordinated appetizers, entrées and desserts suited to match an elevated state of mind. They also have non-infused items like the Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme and the Fried Cauliflower Chikun Basket for folks looking to keep their feet on the ground. They’re a pop-up shop, but you can usually find them at Recipe Oak Cliff.
Whipped Urban Dessert Lab – New York
Whipped is a science experiment gone right. While 75% of African Americans are lactose intolerant and 32 million Americans have food allergies, ice cream remains one of the country’s most popular desserts. Co-founded by a Black PhD scientist, the team at Whipped Urban Dessert Lab sought to resolve this conflict by developing a proprietary soft serve formula made purely from oat-milk. But their desserts not only seek to improve the health of humans, but of the environment. Their production processes aim toward sustainability, as the oats are a low input crop with less of a carbon footprint than other plant-based milks.
Shipping throughout the US & Canada
Fruits N’ Rootz
Fruits N’ Rootz is your source for exotic fruits from around the tropics. They offer delivery of fresh goods that you won’t find at an ordinary grocery store, like black sapote, cherimoya, rambutan and many more. But they’re going beyond just equipping their customers with nutritious, hard-to-find fruit. They’re giving them the knowledge and resources to properly incorporate them into their diets. That includes information about proper fruit harmonization, fruit ripening schedules and seasonal eating. To heighten their impact even more, 20% of their profits go directly to grass roots organizations that support the lives and development of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This list is just the beginning, as Black restauranteurs and business owners continue to bring their unique flavors to the vegan space. What are some of the Black-owned vegan businesses you’ll be watching out for in 2021?