You knew being a vegetarian would be hard but maybe you didn’t realize HOW hard: “What’s that? Your vegetarian menu consists of a green salad and that’s it?” Thankfully, restaurants that cater to a plant-based palette are sprouting up all over town with a list of vegan and vegetarian-friendly menu options as big as your appetite. Here’s a list of my favorites:
295 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY
Nestled between downtown and the Hispanic Heritage District, Strong Hearts Buffalo offers vegan options with familiar flavors for omnivores and herbivores alike. The vegan café with a cult following started in Syracuse in 2008, and finally opened a long-awaited location outside Syracuse. You’ll find vegan versions of classic diner food, or salads and sandwiches for lighter fare. Fans will recognize Strong Hearts standards like milkshakes, nachos and vegan wings, and also try Buffalo exclusives like the Buffalo Bleu Fried Chicken sandwich.
Guud & Evul Vegan Eats
21 Main Street, Tonawanda, NY
Delightful, intriguing and nutritious. Guud & Evul is a 100% plant-based restaurant just a bit north of Buffalo in Tonawanda, NY. From their Smack Burger to their “100% this ain’t chicken strips” and Crazy Dog, you’ll be asking yourself what took you so long to go vegan!
Photo courtesy of Betty’s
370 Virginia Street, Buffalo, NY
Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Sunday Brunch. Vegetarians. Vegans. Omnivores. Carnivores. When a restaurant says they cater to any one and at any time, Betty’s actually delivers on that! This incredibly sweet restaurant has been a staple in Allentown for the last decade and the line out the door means they’re doing something right. From their fresh ingredients to the homemade baked goods to the perfect patio setting, add Betty’s to your must-try list.
Photo courtesy of Mister Sizzle’s
346 Connecticut Street, Buffalo, NY
With vegan versions of five of their signature burgers and thirteen dairy-free shakes, Mister Sizzle’s has your burger fix on lock. They’re even geared up for brunch with a vegan breakfast burger called the Veg Head. Keep an eye on the menu going forward as Mister Sizzle’s is working on a vegan version of their delicious fried chicken sandwich.
Photo courtesy of Homegrown Kitchen
650 Main Street, East Aurora, NY
Getting their start in the charming village of East Aurora, Homegrown Kitchen has become a mainstay of the WNY vegan and vegetarian lineup. Working closely with local farms, you can rest assured that only the the freshest local ingredients are finding their way into your salads, grain bowls, soups, wraps, and smoothies.
3234 Main Street, Buffalo, NY
Amy’s, a Lebanese and American restaurant in the University Heights district serves up scrumptious vegetarian and vegan dishes like their signature Lentil-Berry (lentils, wheatberries, mixed greens, tomato, hot sauce, house dressing rolled in a spinach flat bread), Veggie Wet Shoes (curly-q French fries smothered with spicy lentils, grilled with onions, peppers, tomatoes) and Biff (BBQ seitan, spinach, tomato, red onion, garlic spread on a roll) in a comfy diner setting.
Photo courtesy of Breadhive (don’t worry, that’s tempeh bacon)
Breadhive Bakery & Cafe
402 Connecticut Street, Buffalo, NY
Breadhive’s co-op popped onto the scene in 2014. Their strong carb game is evident in their offering of breads, bagels and pretzels. They also create sandwich masterpieces, some of which are vegan-friendly! Try “The Shania” with tempeh bacon, roasted veggies and turmeric or “The Bjork”, with whipped avocado, Barrel + Brine kimchi, tempeh bacon and spicy mayo. Oh, and all of their sandwiches are named after pop divas if you couldn’t tell!
Photo compliments of Sunshine Vegan Eats
Sunshine Vegan Eats
893 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, NY
Chef Nikki at Sunshine Vegan Eats marries her beaming personality with a bright, healthy vegan-based menu at this Jefferson Avenue eatery. Menu options range from fresh, bottled juices to soups, salads and even transforms some of your favorite indulgences, like Loaded Nachos and Philly Cheesesteaks, into vegan renditions.
Photo courtesy of Macky’s Essex St. Pub
Macky’s Essex St. Pub
530 Rhode Island Street, Buffalo, NY
In a bar that is frequented by grizzled men on motorcycles and hipsters on bicycles, and known for some killer BBQ, Essex St. Pub might be the last place you’d expect to find good vegetarian and vegan eats. But here we are! Macky and the team have perfected a meat-free version of a reuben (with tofu) and a “bacon” club sandwich (with crunchy smoked coconut).
Photo courtesy of Churn
Do yourself a giant favor, whether you’re vegan or not, and stop in to Churn on Hertel to try their vegan coconut soft-serve as a standalone cone or in one of their Curated Cones like Trix Are For Kiddos. It’s one of those “there’s-no-way-this-is-vegan” moments.