Jan 17, 2024 - Food and Drink

16 vegan- and vegetarian-friendly spots in Charlotte

Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just looking to consume less meat, Charlotte has options.

Vegetarian and vegan dishes aren’t just an afterthought at local restaurants anymore — and dishes aren’t just limited to a salad or the Impossible Burger. Places like Romeo’s Vegan Burgers have developed a cult following in recent years, and the anticipated openings of other restaurants like Slutty Vegan will add to our fast-growing food scene. 

Vegan dining at home: If you’re not ready to dine out yet, get meals delivered from Nourish, a Charlotte-based all-vegan meal delivery service. Or try cooking vegan yourself with Cooking With Joya’s new e-cookbook of vegan soul food.

If you’re dining out — or picking up takeout — here are 16 Charlotte restaurants to try for vegan and vegetarian dining.

Vegan/vegetarian restaurants

These restaurants have a vegan and/or vegetarian menu, so you won’t find any meat here. Many are fully vegan, meaning they use no animal products whatsoever. These restaurants are in no particular order; this is not a ranking.

Love in Action Cafe

A new west Charlotte restaurant offering plant-based comfort food favorites, from meatless meatloaf to vegan sweet potato pie. The café donates a portion of its proceeds to the local nonprofit organization Love in Action.  

What to try: Sea moss-infused french toast platter with scrambled vegan egg and impossible sausage, meatless meatloaf with mashed potatoes, kale and greens or the CLT Beyond cheesesteak with fries for lunch.

Sea moss-infused french toast platter with scrambled vegan egg and impossible sausage.

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers

The vegan food truck that was rapidly converting carnivores during the pandemic has brick-and-mortar spots in Charlotte and Greensboro. 

What to try: Where Art Thou Romeo Burger is a Beyond Meat patty topped with house sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, cheese and pickles. Chili cheese fries are also popular. For dessert, try the plant-based chocolate chip cookie milkshake.

Romeo's Vegan Burgers
Axios archives

Oh My Soul

A staple in the NoDa food scene, Oh My Soul dishes up a fully vegan menu from South African owners Richard and Tallulah Duffin.

What to try: Waka Waka burger, a South African spicy patty with cilantro, chili mayo, tomato and red onion, and topped with avocado and fresh chili. For breakfast, the Big Bro is popular. That’s a scrambled tofu dish on rye bread piled with cherry tomatoes and baked beans.

oh my soul
Axios archives

Sanctuary Bistro

Sanctuary Bistro offers French-inspired vegan dinners, as well as a vegan brunch. The restaurant was founded in Berkeley, California, in 2014 by chef Barry Horton and Jennifer Jones-Horton. The Hortons say they relocated to Charlotte to be closer to family and to add to “the growing community of vegan restaurants here.”

Most popular dishes: The crispy oyster mushrooms are one of Sanctuary’s popular dishes.

Seemingly Overzealous

This dessert shop will satisfy your ice cream craving. They offer 12 flavors that are all dairy-, egg- and gluten-free. Some flavors contain nuts.

Most popular flavor: Never Tear Us Apart, which their version of a classic butter pecan, and the cookies and cream called the Can’t Be All Cookie. Pricing depends on the number of scoops.

Can’t Be All Cookie. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Bean Vegan Cuisine

This no-frills restaurant located on Independence Boulevard is unassuming from the outside, but delivers a high-quality vegan menu, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

What to try: The cheesesteak hoagie is Bean’s most popular menu item. It comes with house-made seitan and is grilled with peppers, onions, mushrooms, Daiya mozzarella, Vegenaise mayo, shredded lettuce, tomato and onion. The Cowboy burger is another favorite. It’s made with seitan bacon, Daiya cheddar cheese, onion rings, pickles, BBQ sauce and ranch dressing.

bean vegan cuisine
Charlie Foesch, owner of Bean Vegan Cuisine. [Related guide: LGBTQ+ owned restaurants in Charlotte to support during Pride month (and always)]

Ma Ma Wok

If you’re craving Chinese food, head to Ma Ma Wok, which has a menu filled with vegan dishes.

What to try: The curry stew — made with a plant-based chicken substitute, potatoes, carrots, celery lima beans and tofu — is a bestseller. The sweet and sour fish is also popular. It’s made with a fish substitute.

Cinnaholic

A stop at Cinnaholic will satisfy your sweet tooth with desserts that are completely vegan and fresh-baked. There are 20 flavors of frosting to choose from, and Cinnaholic also has brownies, cookies and cakes. If you’re a Shark Tank fan, you may have heard about these treats during the brand’s appearance on the show back in 2014. The California-based company has locations in Indian Trail, Concord and Belmont.

What to try: The Cookie Monster is a bestseller. It’s made with a cream cheese frosting and is topped with cookie dough, chocolate chips and chocolate sauce.

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Fern, Flavors From the Garden

Fern serves up artfully crafted dishes in a beautiful atmosphere filled with greenery, reclaimed wood and natural light.

What to try: Fern’s cauliflower shareables are always popular and come in flavors like sweet Thai chili or buffalo. Other dishes to try include the avocado toast for brunch. The eggplant parm is a dinnertime favorite.

Sun Burger Vegan Cuisine

You’ll find Sun Burger’s food truck parked at Spoke Easy bike shop in Elizabeth from Thursday to Sunday from 1 to 5pm serving Jamaican/African fusion vegan cuisine.

What to try: Fan favorites include the jerk BBQ jackfruit sliders and the sweet chili chik’n-fried cauliflower.

Meal delivery service: If you can’t get enough of Sun Burger’s food, they also offer a meal delivery service.

Dee’s Vegan To-Go

Denise Hairston, AKA Chef Dee, started selling her popular vegan comfort food at Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. She opened her first brick-and-mortar spot at 1540 West Blvd., Ste. 100.

What to try: Vegan mac and cheese and vegan fried chicken and waffles.

Mike’s Vegan Grill

A popular new restaurant in University City serving a range of plant-based option and eventually late night takeout. It opens Jan. 27.

What to try: The Philly cheesesteak and one of their many milkshake flavors. Follow them on Instagram to order from their secret menu.

Photo: Courtesy of Mike’s Vegan Grill

Soul Miner’s Garden

The Gastonia-based restaurant recently opened another located in the former Plant Joy spot in Camp North End.

What to try: Loaded Nachos, house made tortilla chips, hand-cut fries and Southern style Collard Greens.

Vegan and vegetarian options

These restaurants aren’t strictly vegan or vegetarian, but they have many options or even a dedicated vegan menu.

Village Juice Co.

Located inside Optimist Hall, Village Juice Co. has breakfast, salads and toasts, plus juices and smoothies. While not all of their menu items are vegan, they can modify the existing menu to suit your preferences.

Most popular dishes: The Southwest grain bowl and the Avo Vegan toast are consistent bestsellers. If you like to color outside the lines, the “build your own” option lets you craft a bowl or salad that’s exactly to your liking. They also have raw, vegan dessert options, including vegan cheesecake.

Related guide: Everything you need to know about Optimist Hall

Axios archives

Abugida Ethiopian Cafe

Nearly everything at Abugida, an Ethiopian restaurant on Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood, can be tailor for either meateaters or vegetarians.

What to try: The Yemisir Kik Wat features their popular split red lentils, cooked in a variety of herbs and spices. It’s a frequently ordered dish among both vegan and non-vegan diners. If you’re looking to try a bit of everything, go with the Vegetarian Feast ($12), which gives you a taste of all of their veggie dishes.

Abugida Ethiopian Restaurant Central Avenue Veggie Platter
Abugida’s vegetarian feast.

Pure Pizza

Much different than your typical, late-night pizza joint, Pure Pizza focuses on offering a “farm to fork” pizzeria experience. Pies are made with organic and often locally-sourced ingredients, and they have dedicated vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menus.

What to try: One popular vegetarian pizza is the She-Rex, a veggie pizza topped with Tega Hills lettuce tossed in a house-made lemon vinaigrette dressing. Vegan diners should try the Mediterranean pizza with Daiya cheese, or the veggie tuck-n-rolls. They’re similar to a garlic knot, made with Daiya cheese and toppings.

What to know: Pure Pizza has two locations:One in The Market at 7th St. and one on Central Avenue.

Resources for vegetarian/vegan diners:

  • VeganCLT is a website about “all things vegan” in Charlotte. Here you can find more vegan dining options, including vegan dessert and vegan pizza recommendations. The organization also has an Instagram account.
  • Axios Charlotte has a guide to healthy food options in Charlotte. But just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy (we see you, French fries).
  • Learn more about vegan cooking from Chef Joya of Cooking with Joya. She’s known as the “Queen of Transitioning Meat Eaters.”
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