Plant-Based Restaurants in Charlotte
Nothing’s worse than wanting to dine out and not being able to indulge in some of the best spots the city has to offer because of dietary restrictions. That’s where these spots come in.
by DeAnna Taylor
Picture it, you’re visiting Charlotte for the first time, or you have friends and family coming into town. You’re excited to explore Charlotte’s rapidly expanding foodie scene, but either you or someone in your group is plant-based. Lucky for you, Charlotte has plenty of eateries that are both delicious and accommodating. Beyond its several nods from the James Beard Association and full roster of award-winning restaurants, Charlotte’s culinary scene is quickly earning a reputation for the diversity of its offerings, with tons of options for every palate or preference. In fact, the Queen City has previously been recognized as one of the most vegan- and vegetarian-friendly cities in the U.S.
So, whether you’ve been looking for new vegan- and vegetarian-friendly restaurants to try in Charlotte, or are planning for someone who is, check these out.
Deemed the first 100% vegan restaurant in NoDa, Oh My Soul is not hard to miss. The artsy blue house-turned-eatery offers an extensive menu and an even greater outdoor dining space. Patrons enjoy sitting in the uniquely decorated backyard and even catching live music on designated nights. Consider trying the the Waka Waka Vurger, BBQ Vibs or Grilled Vicken & Friendly Bacon Ranch Wrap. The menu also offers both Impossible™ and Beyond® burger options, and, in a nod to the owners’ homeland, a selection of South African wines.
Opened in 2011, this multi-award-winning vegan restaurant repurposed old barn wood to create its inviting earthy atmosphere. Fern is well-known for its rotating seasonal specials, but fan-favorite menu staples include the buffalo cauliflower, cashew-based mornay mac and cheese and jackfruit enchiladas. Be sure to save room for dessert because the chocolate cake is not to be missed. You’ll want to make a reservation because seating is limited.
As a vegan or vegetarian, you may occasionally miss certain animal products– and great-tasting alternatives can be hard to find. The owners of this Charlotte-area food truck get it, and have mastered the art of recreating an American favorite— the hot dog— in a tasty, plant-based way. In addition to the assortment of loaded “dawgs,” the truck also has fries, mac and cheese and cauliflower wings.
Location: East Charlotte
Considered one of the OG’s of Charlotte’s vegan scene, this East Charlotte vegan comfort food spot doesn’t disappoint. Both vegan and non-vegans alike frequent the restaurant for their fill of fried tofu fingers (sauced or not), the Cowboy Burger and the popular tater tot casserole. There’s also a small wine, beer and kombucha menu if you want to take your meal up a notch.
Rico’s went from a single food cart residing primarily in Uptown, to multiple brick and mortar locations across the Charlotte-metro area. Want Rico’s to come to you? The mobile cart is still in action and can be rented for events and special occasions. Choose from 12, 16, o4 24oz açai bowls. A customer (and Instagram) favorite is the Rainbow Bowl (açai purée, banana, granola, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, and raspberries). Yum!
This popular Black-owned vegan food truck
burst onto the scene in 2020, and in just a year has solidified itself as a favorite among Charlotte residents. If you plan to visit, check social media for location details and be sure to show up early— this truck always has a line. But plant-based- and meat-eaters alike agree it’s well worth the wait. Romeo’s offers massive vegan burgers, loaded fries, and the real winner, vegan milkshakes.
This area food truck was started by Chef Akil and Pastry Chef Paris Courtney in 2019. The aim is to take classic dishes and add a healthier twist minus animal products. You can check Ve-Go’s social media pages to see where the truck will be set up during the week. Popular dishes include the Bang Bang Shrymp, oyster mushrooms and pineapple BBQ beef tips.
Location: East Charlotte
Although technically a global chain, Loving Hut’s Asian-inspired menu offers wholesome vegan dishes that are appealing to those just starting out on their plant-based journey. You can opt for lunch, brunch or dinner, and you can order carryout and even delivery. The menu features an assortment of pizzas, soups, burgers, and of course classic dishes like pho noodle soup
Neighborhood: University City
This carryout-only University City spot has a laundry list of celebrity supporters including Nick Cannon, Tamar Braxton, and Erykah Badu. Deemed “Charlotte’s Most Soulful Vegan Cafe,“ Chef Velvet and her team have given Popeyes a run for their money with a vegan-friendly version of the popular chicken sandwich that sent social media in a frenzy. Other items include lasagna, Krab Cakes and Soul Rolls.