photo courtesy of nofo @ the pig

photo courtesy of nofo @ the pig

Vegan Menus Abound

Finding a vegan meal in the land of barbecue is not as hard as you think.

By Lipsa Shah

The rise of Raleigh as a true foodie town has made it easy to find a satiating meal for vegans in an area where carnivores thrive. To clarify, a vegan diet totally eliminates any animal products. This means no eggs, no dairy, no animal byproducts. Did you know beer isn’t vegan? Along with white sugar, boxed cake mix, and Jello, to name a few.

Living Kitchen

Nestled at 555 Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, Living Kitchen welcomes anyone for all-vegan and some raw cuisine. The natural lighting underscores the freshness of the food, and you honestly cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. From the Mexican bowl to the salads, everything on the menu is tasty and health-conscious. I would suggest Living Kitchen for someone who is new to the vegan diet.

Happy + Hale

A true gem. With locations in Raleigh and Durham, Happy + Hale is easily accessible. I look forward to the weekends for their brunch menu. Sometimes, there is simply nothing better than a delicious avocado toast paired with a smoothie, or one of their cold-pressed juices. My favorites: the City of Oats smoothie or Beet It juice. The best part is that this breakfast is totally guilt-free.

Raleigh Raw

The trendiest spot in downtown Raleigh, Raleigh Raw strives to provide healthy grab-and-go options as well as offering a variety of smoothies, juices, and coffees. Crack coffee, anyone? The owners are committed to a life of living well and making that lifestyle easy for all. They make most of their products in-house and provide exceptionally friendly service.


Tucked away on the outskirts of downtown, Hummingbird may be the most Instagrammable brunch spot in Raleigh. They aren’t open on Sundays; however, it is definitely worth the Saturday morning wait. Four words: Coconut chia seed pudding. You are so welcome. The farm-to-table menu changes frequently so I suggest going there immediately for this, although I’m sure anything else they offer will be exceptional as well. They serve tapas-style plates that you can enjoy solo or with a group.


Irregardless is a Raleigh staple for diets of all persuasions, and the restaurant has been doing this since 1975. They offer an array of classics, such as paella and briskets for the carnivores in your life, but they also have an inventive menu for vegans and vegetarians. They’ve been setting the table for contemporary standards and food diversity across the ages, and they’ve built their menu with all diets in mind to ensure a sense of community is brought to their tables.

Fiction Kitchen

Fiction Kitchen focuses on locally grown produce, only relying on what is in season. Their dishes surpass any culinary boundaries, bringing healthy, meat-free interpretations to all manner of dishes—ranging from sushi and tacos to the Southern staple, “chicken” and waffles. Fiction Kitchen is 100 percent vegetarian, with many vegan options.

I’m beyond impressed with the food scene down here in Raleigh. I only scratched the surface with these gems, but I’m so excited to fill my belly with more delicious spots throughout the city!

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