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:
Root + Bloom Cafe and Market, 423 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo
Buffalo’s first ENTIRELY vegan restaurant opened earlier this summer and is already making a name for themselves. Husband and wife co-owners, James Ernst and Sarah Sendlbeck, are out to prove that fruits and veggies can be crafted into delicious and complete meals. They’re open for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Plus, the gazebo setting is to die for!
Betty’s, 370 Virginia Street, Buffalo
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.
Homegrown Kitchen, 916 Main Street, Buffalo & 650 Main Street, East Aurora
Getting their start in the charming village of East Aurora, Homegrown Kitchen was such a hit that they’ve expanded to the big city with a second location on Main Street in Buffalo. 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.
Grindhaus Cafe, 160 Allen Street, Buffalo
In Allentown, Grindhaus Cafe is a hipster spot for pour-over coffees and cold brew but their lunch menu of sandwiches and salads cater to vegetarians and vegans. Owner Megan Stewart married together her love of coffee and passion for vegetarianism and created a lunch menu that’s accessible and balanced.
Macky’s Essex St. Pub, 530 Rhode Island Street (corner of Essex), Buffalo
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 vegitarian and vegan eats. But here we are! Macky and the team have perfected a meat-free version of a reuben (with tofu), “bacon” club sandwich (with crunchy toasted coconut) and a veggie Memphis plate made with spaghetti squash.
Newbury, 617 Main Street, Buffalo
Salads. Smoothies. Grain Bowls. Those are Newbury’s specialties and boy do they knock it out of the park with all of them. Even better is they offer menu items pleasing to your carnivore friends too!
Amy’s Place, 3234 Main Street, Buffalo
This Lebanese and American restaurant in the University Heights district serves up scrumptious vegetarian and vegan dishes like their signature Lentil-Berry, Margie and Biff sandwiches in a comfy diner vibe. Amy’s also takes it to the streets with their food truck that’s rolling around town to feed the lunch crowd. A friendly heads up that Amy’s is a cash only operation.
Ashker’s, various locations
Food doesn’t come fresher than from Ashker’s. Stop in for a fortified “Omega Mind” smoothie or enjoy a fresh veggie omelette any time of day (who doesn’t love all-day breakfast?) Their Elmwood location is always hopping! If you find yourself enjoying a summer stroll through Delaware Park, stop in to that location for a meal on the go. And don’t sleep on their location in Black Rock, too!
Breadhive Bakery & Cafe, 402 Connecticut Street, Buffalo
This bakery 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 my favorite, “The Stevie” made with roasted eggplant, onion, basil pesto and white bean spread. (Oh and all of their sandwiches are named after pop divas so perhaps you’ll be interested in “The Shania”, “The Bjork” or “The Dolly” too)
Healthy Scratch, 75 Main Street, Buffalo
If you’re looking to kick start your morning or want to add a protein punch to your lunch, head inside LECOM HarborCenter to Healthy Scratch. All of their menu items are ready for the on-the-go local or tourist and given that it’s on the doorstep of Canalside, it’s the perfect spot to hit up before or after your waterfront stroll.
Chef Nikki 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.
EXTRA CREDIT: Churn Soft Serve, 1501 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo
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. It’s one of those “there’s-no-way-this-is-vegan” moments.