Feedlots and Waste Lagoons

Recently a Google Maps image of a cattle feedlot in Texas has been making the news. The photo of Coronado Feeders shows a beige grid dotted with cows near a bright red waste lagoon. It’s both horrifying and mesmerizing. And not all that unusual. You can find feedlots like this all across Texas.

Google Maps image of E6 Cattle Co

Google Maps image of E6 Cattle Co (Click on any photo to see a larger image)

For instance, here is the Google Maps image of E6 Cattle Co, which made the news in 2011 when a Mercy for Animals video (contains graphic images and sounds) highlighted abuses there.

Unnamed feedlot near the Texas-New Mexico border

Unnamed feedlot near the Texas-New Mexico border

Or this one near the New Mexico border.

Feedlot northeast of Amarillo

Feedlot northeast of Amarillo

Or this one near Amarillo.

In fact, it’s easy to spot feedlots in Google Maps pretty much anywhere in the Texas Panhandle. Pick a spot and search for the familiar grid and red pond in the pattern of circles (crops).

Texas is one of the largest cattle producers in the United States. These industrial feedlots are part of modern meat production, and they’re unsustainable. Animal waste can pollute rivers and underground drinking water, and according to the EPA, one dairy cow produces waste equivalent to 20 to 40 humans. Multiplied by the number of cattle in the above photos, that’s a lot of waste. The current scale of meat production is just too much for our environment to handle. In fact, the UN has urged the world to move toward a vegan diet in order to ward off the impending climate change disaster.

So why is this news? Because we don’t often see how our food is produced. If you’re eating a hamburger at most restaurants in the U.S., this is where it came from.

One Lucky Duck Opening in San Antonio

Raw vegan One Lucky Duck Juice Bar recently opened a location in San Antonio. The restaurant is associated with Pure Food and Wine in New York City. The San Antonio location serve juices, salads, and snacks as well as carrying a small selection of raw food groceries, cosmetics, clothing, household goods, and pet supplies. The San Antonio juice bar is located at 303 Pearl Parkway.

Vegan Hot Dog at Ballpark in Arlington

Vegan hot dog at Ballpark in Arlington. Photo by mollyjade

Be prepared for a long walk if you want to try the vegan (and gluten-free) hot dog at the Ballpark in Arlington. The dogs are sold at the Centerfield Marketplace. A lot of online sources say it’s located in section 131, but this isn’t true. The nice usher at section 131 sounded like he was used to the question. The Centerfield Marketplace is in restaurant location 131, which doesn’t mean anything to customers. It’s a numbering system used by Ballpark facilities management. The important thing to listen to is “Centerfield” Marketplace. It’s located near, ta da!, centerfield on the ground level.

Vegan hot dogs at Ballpark in Arlington. Photo by mollyjade

The Centerfield Marketplace is a small convenience store with healthier and gluten-free food. On one side are refrigerated cases with prepared foods and beverages. On the other side is a rolling hot dog warmer filled with smart dogs. Isn’t America a wonderful place? We snagged a fruit cup from the refrigerated case along with our hot dog.

Fruit cup at Ballpark in Arlington. Photo by mollyjade

Unless you have seats on the ground level, grab your food before you find your seats. The elevators only go up for the first innings, and it’s a lot of work to get back to ground level once you’ve gone up. Back at our seats, I bit into my hot dog loaded with ketchup and mustard and watched the Rangers hit a grand slam. It felt just like watching a game in the nosebleed seats as a kid. I loved it.

New Vegan Restaurants Opening in Texas

Veggie Grill

Veggie Grill: Fried (Gardein) chick'n, mashed potatoes, gravy, kale, or as I like to call it, the Wannabe Luann Platter

Fast casual vegan chain Veggie Grill plans to open at least two Texas locations in 2014. According to an article in the Los Angeles Business Journal, Veggie Grill is looking for appropriate locations in Houston and Austin.

I was lucky enough to try Veggie Grill in Portland while I was there for Vida Vegan Con. The menu strikes a great balance between hearty comfort food and health food. Who doesn’t love a plate of food that has both kale and gravy?


Buffalo Chick'n Sandwich from Green Vegetarian

As I announced recently on Facebook, Green Vegetarian of San Antonio is expanding to Houston. The food at Green is somewhat similar to Veggie Grill, except that Green has table service. I think both restaurants will find an audience that’s hungry for comforting, healthy food in Houston, seeing how few vegan restaurants Houston has for it’s large population. In the future, Green plans to franchise their restaurant.


Gluten-free vegan oatmeal cream pies from Reverie Bakeshop. Photo from Reverie Bakeshop Facebook

In Dallas, two friends are opening a vegan bakery, Reverie Bakeshop. The duo is currently hosting a Kickstarter fundraiser to help cover the costs of build-out and inventory. The grand opening is planned for September of this year.


Locali (perhaps a pun on local and low cal and California?), another Los Angeles-based fast casual healthy chain, is planning an Austin location according to Eater-Los Angeles. At first glance the menu isn’t that exciting. Sandwiches mostly. That is, until you notice almost every sandwich is vegan or can be made vegan, including a list of hearty breakfast sandwiches. Look out breakfast tacos, you’re going to have some competition.

The Wet Whistle, One Year In

The Wet Whistle is having a one year anniversary party this weekend, which means it’s time for a follow up to my preview a year ago. I almost don’t want to write this. Right now, it feels like the Wet Whistle is my own private food paradise. But it’s not right to keep such a great place a secret.

If you don’t spend much time near Chicon and MLK in Austin, you may not even know what Wet Whistle is. It’s a small convenience store that’s been stripped of all the corporatization and sameness of your neighborhood 7/11. Instead, you’ll find local and alternative specialty foods in an arty, DIY setting that fits right in with the East Austin vibe.

Paint can lid art outside the Wet Whistle

Looking at the range of goods on their shelves, it’s obvious the folks at Wet Whistle have gone out of their way to accommodate vegans. The small convenience store has two cases of prepared food, and they’re stuffed with vegan options, including

  • Vegan Nom tacos
  • Counter Culture kale salad and macaroni and cheese
  • Happy Vegan Baker macaroni and cheese and shepherd’s pie
  • Tom’s Tabooley salads and wraps
  • Grandma’s hummus
  • Green Cart wraps
  • Tam’s Deli veggie bahn mi (usually vegan, but ask about mayo)
  • various bean curries and dips
You won’t find all of these there at once, as they arrive fresh a few times a week and eventually sell out. But a large percentage of their options are vegan at any given time.
The bakery counter is also stocked with vegan baked goods from Red Rabbit Cooperative, Sugar Circus (Sugar Tooth Bakery), Sugar Mama Bake Shop, and others. You’ll find cupcakes, cookies, donuts, muffins, and loaves of bread. Many of the baked goods are gluten free as well.
If you’re looking for a beverages, they have kombucha; beer and wine; natural colas; fresh iced teas, coffees, and fruit beverages; and coconut waters. What you won’t find is the usual Coke and Pepsi that crowd most convenience stores.
They also stock staples like fresh produce, soy milk, vegan cheese, tofu, tempeh, pasta, and crackers.
Beyond the food, the service is excellent. Like much of Austin service, it’s not effusive. They won’t shout “hello” at you when you come in the store. But I always have great interactions at the checkout, and they’ve stocked numerous things I suggested.
Wet Whistle One Year Anniversary
Wet Whistle is celebrating their one year anniversary with a big party on Sunday, July 28, from 3 to 9 PM. There will be music, a raffle, wine and hummus, a whistling contest, and a vegan taco eating contest. That’s right! Test yourself against competitors to see who can eat a set number of tacos the fastest. I eat a lot of Vegan Nom tacos, and finally all that practice will do me some good.

San Antonio Vegan-Friendly Map

Sign outside Green Vegetarian in San Antonio

Sign outside Green Vegetarian in San Antonio

There’s a new San Antonio vegan blog called Veggie Angie. Angie just posted a terrific map of all the vegan-friendly restaurants in San Antonio. It’s incredibly thorough, with fifty-six restaurants currently listed. I’m pleased to add it to my list of Texas vegan restaurant guides. Besides the map, you’ll also find reviews of many of the restaurant on the blog.

Do you know of another Texas city guide I should add to my list? Let me know in the comments.

Vegan Pizza in Austin

Vegan Pizza Day is this Saturday. If you’re having trouble picking a slice in Austin, here’s a guide to the best vegan pizzas in Austin. (Not in Austin? Check out this post about vegan pizza in Texas.)

Note: This list is regularly updated.

Austin’s Pizza
Vegan cheese: Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheese
Recommended pie: Mediterranean (minus the feta) because kalamata olives
Tip: Avoid the online ordering system. For whatever reason, calling gets more accurate results

Bistro Vonish
Vegan cheese: homemade!
Recommended pie: Whatever is on special
Tip: This cart is entirely vegan. As with all carts, check social media for accurate hours.

Brick Oven on 35th 
Vegan topping: chipotle pesto, no extra charge
Recommended pie: Spicy Vegan, a personal sized pizza with chipotle pesto, tomatoes, red bell pepper, onions, and jalapenos
Tip: Be aware, this is an entirely different restaurant than Brick Oven. (Bonus tip, you can get the chipotle pesto on pasta as well. Just ask for no cream.)

Spicy Vegan from Brick Oven on 35th

Spicy Vegan from Brick Oven on 35th

Conan’s Pizza
Vegan cheese: Daiya, counts as double topping
Recommended pie: Don’t Choke Art, spinach, sliced tomato, artichoke heart, garlic
Tip: Both the deep dish and thin-style crusts are vegan now

Counter Culture
Vegan cheese: homemade!
Recommended pie: Whatever is on special
Tip: Gluten-free pizza available

East Side Pies
Vegan cheese: Daiya, $2/14-inch pie, $4/18-inch pie
Recommended pie:
Sharon’s Pie with spinach curry sauce, broccoli, and red potatoes
They make thin-crust pizza, so you may want to order a bit more than usual. Take advantage of their unusual pizza sauces, including hummus and curry sauce.

Flaming Pizza
Vegan cheese: Daiya, $1 extra
Recommended pie: Eater’s choice. Choose your own toppings.
Tip: Like Mi Pizza and Mod Pizza, you can have unlimited toppings for no extra charge

Hoboken Pie
Vegan cheese: Daiya and tofu ricotta, $3 extra for any size
Recommended pie: Any pie with fruit (pineapple, pear, or misison fig)
Tip: They also have seitan and occasional vegan specials. (Bonus tip:The garlic knots can be made vegan.)

House Pizzeria
Vegan topping: Not actually cheese, but the eggplant tapenade is a wonderful topping made of eggplant, lemon, tomato and onion
Recommended pie: Eggplant, no parm. In addition to the tapenade, this pizza has capers and kalamata olives.
Tip: Start your meal with roasted olives or cannellini bean spread.

Marye’s Gourmet Pizza
Vegan cheese: Daiya, unknown extra charge
Recommended pie: sun-dried tomato, red onion, rosemary, and garlic

Mellow Mushroom
Vegan cheese: Daiya, $1.49-3.29, based on pizza size
Recommended pie: Tempeh (because where else can you get tempeh on a pizza?), onions, and bell peppers.
Tip: Remind your waiter, “No butter or parmesan on the crust.”
[Guadalupe location closed]

Mi Pizza
Vegan cheese:
Daiya, $1 extra

Recommended pie: build your own personal pie with as many toppings as you like for only $6.99.

Mod Pizza
Vegan cheese:
Daiya, no extra charge
Recommended pie:
Garlic rub with arugula.
Red sauce is not vegan. They’re working on a new recipe. In the meantime, get BBQ sauce or garlic rub as your base.

North Door Pizza
Vegan cheese: Daiya, $3 extra
Recommended pie: Green and black olives (in honor of Lazy Smurf, who recommended this place and loves olives)
Tip: North Door Pizza only serves pizza during events at North Door.

The Parlor
Vegan cheese: Follow Your Heart, $3.50-5.50 extra, depending on the pizza size
Recommended pie: Any pie with their homemade vegan meats (pepperoni, sausage, chicken). The meats aren’t always available. If they have all three and you can get a vegan meat lover’s pie, it’s like you’ve won the lottery.
Tip: If there’s no vegan meat, try a vegan French bread pizza with broccoli. Trust me.

Promise  Pizza
Vegan cheese: Daiya, no extra charge
Recommended pie: Nature’s Choice, a pizza loaded up with all the veggies
Tip: Stretch the definition of pizza and try a Vegan’s Choice calzone

Rockin’ Tomato
Vegan cheese: Daiya, $1.50/10-inch, $2.75/14-inch or 18-inch
Recommended pie: Farmers Market

Vegan cheese: Homemade nut cheese, no extra charge. They sometimes substitute Daiya if they run out of the homemade cheese.
Recommended pie: Calabrese vesuvio. Named after Mount Vesuvius, the pizza comes flopped over on itself.
Tip: Walk your waiter through the definition of vegan when you order. They’re really flexible about adapting many of their dishes, but it means they get a bit confused sometimes.

Vegan cheese: A blend of mozzarella and cheddar Daiya
Recommended pie: Veggie meat and basil
Tip: Wednesday and Saturday you can order vegan pizza by the slice. The rest of the week, you’ll have to order an entire pizza.

Spartan Pizza
Vegan cheese: Galaxy Foods vegan rice cheeseDaiya, $2.5/10-inch or $4.50/14-inch
Recommended pie: The Athena, with roasted garlic olive oil, fresh spinach, red onion, mushroom, whole roasted garlic cloves
Tip: The tomato sauce, the roasted garlic spread, and roasted garlic olive oil sauce are all vegan.

Via 313 vegan pizza

Via 313 vegan pizza

Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint
Vegan cheese: Daiya
Recommended pie: It’s build your own, so it’s up to you.
Tip: They list all of their vegan ingredients online.

Via 313
Vegan cheese:  Follow Your Heart, $2 extra
Recommended pie: They serve Detroit-style pizza, which mean deep dish, cooked in a square cast iron, with a strip of tomato sauce on top rather than under the toppings.
Tip: Try a Vernor’s Ginger Ale, a Michigan classic. The ginger is so spicy, the first sip makes you cough.

Wheatsville Coop
Vegan cheese: Daiya, cheese price incorporated into the price of the pizza
Recommended pie: Popcorn tofu pizza. They’ve added everyone’s favorite sandwich topping to their pizza. Pick up a ready-made pizza in the refrigerated case and cook it yourself at home.
Tip: Occasionally, pizza-by-the-slice is offered at the deli counter.

Whole Foods
Vegan cheese: Cheddar or mozzarella Daiya, $1 extra/pie. As far as I know, this is the only place in town that offers cheddar (or as the last employee I talked to called it, yellow) vegan cheese.
Recommended pie: Red, green, and yellow bell peppers for a really colorful pie
Tip: Thursday is $10 pizza night, the best deal in town

Vegan cheese: Daiya, $1.35-2.25 extra/pie, depending on size
Recommended pie: The Berkley Vegan, with (Gardein) veggie crumbles, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion, bell pepper
Tip: Their gluten-free crust is vegan. See the FAQ section for a vegan menu.

Updated 3/3/16

What I Learned at Vida Vegan Con

A box of brownies from Capital City Bakery on their way to the Vida Vegan Con Galarama

There are dozens of posts about Vida Vegan Con 2013 out there, and I encourage you to read them. Especially read Lazy Smurf’s and Joanna’s posts. Pretend I’m in the background cheering them on, which I was. So instead of a recap, which others have done much better than I could anyway, here are five things I learned at Vida Vegan Con.

1. Be negative. If you look in the archives of Lone Star Plate, you’ll notice I’m almost unfailingly positive about veganism in Texas. Up to now, if I didn’t like a vegan restaurant, business, or product, I just didn’t write about it. Grant Butler, food writer for the Oregonian, says that hurts my credibility. A writer who likes everything isn’t believable, and beyond that, it hurts veganism if we call bad food good. I haven’t gone as far as writing sparkling reviews of bad food, but you’ll notice I just never mention certain vegetarian and vegan restaurants. So here on out, look for more critical reviews.

These will be difficult to write, partly because I need to be exceedingly fair. Grant recommended visiting a restaurant you don’t like four or five times before writing about it. It’s also difficult because these restaurants are part of our community. They hold fundraisers and parties. They donate to our bake sales. If I’m not out-and-out friends with them, I’m certainly friendly.

Read the Gay Vegans’ notes on the restaurant review session.

2. Incorporate animal activism into your writing. I’m unapologetically a baketivist. Writing directly about institutionalized animal abuse isn’t my strong suit. But that doesn’t mean I can’t bring animal activism into my writing more often. Mariann Sullivan and Jasmin Singer of Our Hen House gave a presentation about how to subtly bring animal activism into vegan food writing.

The suggestion that resonated most with me was to speak as if your audience already knows about animal abuse. You don’t have explain what a battery cage is, but you can mention that vegan recipes are fantastic because they taste great and allow you to bake without using battery cage eggs. Leave it up to the reader to find out what a battery cage is.

3. MoFo doesn’t need to be complicated. I always debate about participating in Vegan MoFo because I worry that I can’t blog twenty times in a month and keep to the mission of this blog, which is write about vegan life in Texas. MoFo often opens me up to writing more about my personal life than about Texas veganism in general. But by the end of the Vegan MoFo panel, I was fired up to participate again this year. The blogs I like best myself are the ones that show a lot of personality. You can’t do that without writing about your personal life.

One of the big points of the workshop is that a MoFo post doesn’t need to be elaborate. It doesn’t need a recipe. And I think remembering this will help me mesh MoFo with my usual writing. This year, instead of a big grand theme that I can’t carry out (50 best dishes in Texas, eek!), I’ll try to scale down to something more manageable.

There will be official MoFo themes this year, which we came up with in the workshop. I’m really excited about them and can’t wait until we can share them with everyone. Sews Before Bros recapped the MoFo Workshop.

Regarding points four and five, did you know VRA founder Ross designed the Tofurky mascot on this shirt? He also does all the design work for Texas VegFest.

4. Tofurky quiche is amazing. There were a lot of new products to try in the exhibitor hall at Vida Vegan Con. The Tofurky quiche is the one that blew me away. I was also pleasantly surprised by the reformulated Nayonaise. Who’s up for a mayo taste off?

5. We have a fantastic vegan community in Austin. I went to a session on community building, and, while it was lead by a really accomplished group of vegans, I found myself thinking, “Well, we do that.” Or, “So-and-so from Austin is a great example of how to do that.” As I said in my last post, Austin has a serious group of activists and vegan business leaders. It’s time to stop thinking of ourselves as amateurs.

There are rumors that the next Vida Vegan Con might be in Austin. Personally, I’d rather visit another city. I’ve already eaten most of the food in Austin. But if it does come here, I’ll be excited to share how awesome our city is with the rest of the world.

The entire community building session can be viewed here:

Why Name Austin the Most Vegan City?

A now-closed vegan food cart in Austin, TX. Iggi's Texitarian opened in 2010. Photo by Jeff Gunn and licensed under creative commons

Recently, PETA named Austin the most vegan-friendly city in the United States, beating out Portland, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. So why Austin?

As we saw from my post last week, Austin doesn’t have the most vegan restaurants (that’s Los Angeles). And we don’t have the highest concentration of vegan restaurants per person (that’s Portland). So why Austin?

The great thing the vegan community in Austin has going for it is momentum. I moved here at the very beginning of 2009. Austin was a pretty great city to be vegan in at the time, but the difference between today and four or five years ago is astounding.

Casa de Luz, Austin's only vegan restaurant five years ago. Photo by Chris Hardie and licensed under creative commons

In 2009, Austin had just one vegan restaurant: Casa de Luz. Joining Casa, were seven or eight vegetarian restaurants. Austin was home to the Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook Off, two vegetarian meet up groups, and one vegan group (VRA). This is a healthy mix of options, but it leans pretty heavily towards vegetarian, and an older vegetarian scene at that.

The economy in 2009 was terrible, and it stayed that way for years. But the slow economy opened up space in Austin for food trailers. And there was an explosion of vegetarian, but more importantly, vegan food trailers.

 Month  Cart
 April 2009  Goodseed Organics*
 July 2009  Counter Culture
 October 2009  Defresh Mode
 October 2009  Cheer Up Charlies
 April 2010  Edible Earth
 July 2010  Iggi’s Texitarian
 September 2010  Biscuits and Groovy**
 August 2010  Conscious Cravings*
 October 2011  Kat’s Ice Cream
 November 2011  Arlo’s Food Truck
 January 2012  Moses Falafel*
 April 2012  Vegan Nom
 May 2012  Schmaltz*
 June 2012  Capital City Bakery
 August 2012  Good to Go*
 November 2012  Guac N Roll*

**Switched between vegetarian, vegan, and omnivore

Some of these trailers transitioned to brick and mortars. Toy Joy Ice Cream, Sweet Ritual, Beets Cafe, Austin Java Tarrytown, Maoz Falafel, and Counter Culture all opened as brick and mortars since the beginning of 2009. Altogether, that’s four or five new vegan or vegetarian restaurants opening most years. That’s a tremendous amount.

Austin has also been the home to a number of new packaged vegan food products, including Hearty Vegan Tempeh, Food for Lovers queso, Celeste’s Best cookie dough, Goodseed Burgers, Nacho Mom’s queso, Red Rabbit Bakery, and Baby Zach’s BBQ Hummus. You can buy their products in Austin stores, and in most cases, nationwide.

In 2009, Rip Esselstyn published The Engine 2 Diet, which quickly exploded into a national diet craze with books, classes, camps, and even food products. Today, the Engine 2 Diet Facebook page has 65,000 followers.

And 2009 is also the year that Daniela Nunez started a Vegan Drinks in Austin. Marie of Red Hot Vegans revived it as ATX Vegan Drinks in 2012.

In 2011, a small group of people began planning Texas VegFest in order to showcase the great vegan offerings in Austin and expose them to a wider audience. Texas VegFest attracted 5,000 attendees in its second year and is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best vegan festivals in the country.

A sign announcing Vegan Drinks happy hour outside Cheer Up Charlie's. Photo by mollyjade and licensed under creative commons.

This is an extensive list, and it doesn’t even cover Austin’s all-vegan grocery store, vegan hot dog eating contestssupper clubs, vegan party bargesTrancegiving Thanksgiving potlucks, a vegan bar, bake sales that raise thousands of dollars, a no-kill city animal shelter. Read the past four years of this blog and you still wouldn’t be able to cover everything. And it’s all happened in less than five years.

So why is Austin the most vegan-friendly city in America? The people. It’s a small group of creative, dedicated people who go the crucial step beyond wondering “wouldn’t it be awesome if there were vegan…” and make it happen. The PETA award belongs to the people behind each of these businesses and events. Thanks for making it happen!

Vegan Restaurants per Capita

This post was updated on May 31 as a result of a discussion in the comments section.

I just spent a magical weekend in vegan wonderland. I was surrounded by great food and people who really “get” veganism. It made me think a lot about what it means for a place to be vegan-friendly. Is it the vegan community? The food options? Understanding and accommodation by the larger community?

One thing in particular I was curious about was the density of vegan restaurants in cities. Was New York really the capital of vegan restaurants as one person told me? So I put together a table with the U.S. 2012 Census estimates for the top 50 cities by population and listings of vegan restaurants in Happy Cow. And the results were both expected and surprising.

How the numbers were calculated

For population, I used the U.S. 2012 Census estimates from Wikipedia. Large cities close together were counted as a metro area with the exception of DFW, which was counted both individually and as a metro area. For vegan restaurants, I went strictly by what was under the vegan category on Happy Cow. That means that my hometown of Austin has six vegan restaurants because Capital City Bakery and Sweet Ritual are counted as a bakery and a grocery store (weird category, that), not as vegan restaurants.

The overal city score is given as number of restaurants per million people. It’s a bit of an odd way to do it, since more than half of these cities have less than a million people, but it makes the numbers much easier to compare one against another. As Pete points out in the comments below, this is pretty inexact. The U.S. census is using very defined borders whereas I’m using much broader geographic terms in the Happy Cow search.

And the winner is . . . ?

While New York City has the second greatest total number of vegan restaurants with 57 (only beat out by the Los Angeles metro area with 68), it’s beat out by fifteen other cities and metro areas in vegan restaurants per capita. The city with the highest rating is Portland with a score of 38.1, followed by Seattle (33.1),  San Francisco metro area (21.2), Atlanta (18.0), and Miami (16.9).

The largest city with only a single vegan eatery is San Antonio, with a score of 0.7. The largest city without a single vegan restaurant is Indianapolis (there’s a business opportunity for an aspiring vegan restaurant owner). El Paso, Louisville, Oklahoma City, Colorado Springs, Raleigh, Omaha, and Wichita also have no vegan restaurants.

For cities with just one or two vegan restaurants, they’re most likely to be a Loving Hut, a raw food restaurant, or a small cafe inside a health food store.

A vegan BBQ plate that looks like it belongs in Texas but actually comes from Homegrown Smoker in Portland, OR. Y'all, we live in a mixed up crazy world.


Is Texas a particularly hard state be vegan in? A little. Seven of the largest U.S. cities are in Texas, and from most dense to least they rank Dallas (7.3), Austin (7.1), DFW (4.6), Houston (3.2),  Arlington (2.7), Fort Worth (1.3), San Antonio (0.7), and El Paso (0). Personally, I think about 5 restaurants per million people (i.e., a score of 5) is a good place to aim for, and yet only two Texas cities make that cut. If you want to open a vegan business in Texas, it looks like Fort Worth, San Antonio, and El Paso are severely underserved.

Things that surprised me

No one talks much about Miami (except Lazy Smurf), but it comes in with a fairly high score of 16.9. It looks like a great place to mix nightlife, eating, and beach time for a vacation. Atlanta (18.0) also has a good number of vegan restaurants for its size. On the other hand, I’ve always thought of Minneapolis as a great city to be vegan in, yet they only have one vegan restaurant for a city of almost 400,000 people.

In the end, I think we could spend countless hours analyzing these numbers. There are certainly some shortfalls. Perhaps a city doesn’t have many vegan restaurant, but instead has a huge number of vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurants. Or maybe a city has a really accommodating culture, and you can expect to find a good vegan meal at any restaurant in the city. Or cities without a robust restaurant culture might have thriving vegan potluck and social groups.