Must Try Vegan Spots on the Road


Delicious vegan bites are just down the street!: Photo credit: KarinaUrmantseva/iStock/Getty Images Plus collection/Getty Images

With vegetarian and health conscious eating on the rise, finding wholesome eats on the road is getting easier everyday. But what about those moments when a grain bowl and a green juice just aren’t going to do it?

Whether you’re looking for a less-than-virtuous veggie burger, a dairy-free pizza slice or down home cooking minus the meat, here are veggie-centric spots around the country to scratch that junk food itch.

Los Angeles: Classic Burger

No trip to Southern California is complete without a classic fast food-style burger from a certain Instagram-famous chain. If you’re in the market for a meatless analog, the folks at Los Angeles’ Burgerlords have perfected the SoCal classic with a vegan patty, dairy-free American slice, lettuce, tomato, onion and that all important Thousand Island. Pair your burger with a side of shoestring fries.

Rockville, Md.: Pizza for Everyone

Slowly expanding its East Coast footprint, &pizza is a craft-your-own pizza place catering to all manner of dietary needs. There are doughs in traditional, ancient grains and gluten-free varieties, dairy-less melty mozzarella, a garden’s worth of vegetable toppings and vegan beef. Pies can be finished with everything from pickled red onions and red chile oil to peppery leaves of arugula.

New York City: It’s All About the Sides

Superiority Burger has been getting plenty of play for its veggie burger since opening in 2015. The signature burger, a fast food style patty with pickles and mustard on a Martin’s potato roll satisfies and the Sloppy Dave, which uses tofu crumbles in place of ground meat, will necessitate the use of more than a few napkins.

But the real draw here is a rotating selection of farmers’ market-sourced sides, like pea shoot pesto pasta salad and garlic-braised escarole with apples that allow the kitchen freedom to get playful with seasonal produce.

Brooklyn, N.Y.: Diner Breakfast With a Twist

When only a diner breakfast will do, beloved vegan institution Champs Diner does it right. The menu lines up a Denny’s-inspired vegan slam of French toast, tofu scramble, home fries and pork-free bacon, kale stuffed loaded breakfast burritos and biscuits topped with a creamy sage and soy-sage gravy. Come supper time, don’t miss the country fried seitan and the (deep-fried) cauliflower po’ boy.

Philadelphia: Where They Do Chik’n Right

Hip City Veg, a Philadelphia-based, vegan fast casual chain, rightly does a brisk business in spicy, buffalo chik’n sandwiches, cheeseless takes on cheesesteaks and portobello burgers. Sides-wise, there are sweet potato fries with cilantro black bean dip and crunchy Asian salads, but whatever you do, don’t miss the frozen, soy ice cream Creamsicle shake.

Omaha, Neb.: Wings Take Flight

Modern Love knows how to tweak pub grub faves, vegan-style. Wings are remade with hot sauce-tossed rosemary breaded seitan and served with the holy trinity of celery, carrots and ranch. Deviled eggs get a makeover with chickpeas in cucumber cups, and a reuben swaps out corned beef for grilled oyster mushrooms.

Norwalk, Conn.: All Vegetables, All the Time

Embracing the old school natural foods ethos, The Lime isn’t afraid to add rich touches to well-loved veg standards. Crisp tofu croquettes are deep-fried and served with a spicy-sweet Thai orange sauce. A sesame and soy carrot loaf comes crowned with a halo of melted cheddar, and black bean chili gets loaded up with cheese, sour cream and crunchy tortilla chips for dipping.

Atlanta: Updated Soul Food

No trip to the South is complete without at least one soul food meal. Instead of sticking to vegetable sides, Soul Vegetarian Restaurant matches hearty entrees like country baked kalebone (a secret recipe wheat-gluten meatloaf) smothered in onion gravy with mac and cheese, collard greens and corn bread, along with batter-fried tofu with tartar sauce and eggless egg salad sandwiches and non-dairy scoops and shakes.

About the Author

Caroline RussockCaroline Russock is a local editor for Zagat. Past gigs include vetting thousands of recipes for Serious Eats, bartending in rural Sicily, and running a French bistro in San Diego.