956 Fulton St. E, Grand Rapids
The only 100 percent vegan restaurant in Grand Rapids is also one of our favorites. Ethiopian food is packed with veggies, but Little Africa makes them sing in ways you never thought possible. The food is made fresh every day, and the hot tea is wonderfully sweet. The hours can be erratic, so be sure to call ahead before you go.
6 Jefferson SE, Grand Rapids
bartertowngr.com, (616) 233-3219
10 Jefferson St. SE, Grand Rapids
jointhecvlt.com, (616) 490-4911
Maybe we’re cheating a little here including two restaurants in one, but the block on Jefferson at Fulton has become a Mecca for all things humane and local. Starting with the vegetarian Bartertown Diner in 2011, CVLT Pizza opened up two years later. Nothing about the food in either spot is conventional. Every dish is delicious and healthful with ingredients being locally sourced on an ever-changing menu.
1001 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids
mariecatribs.com, (616) 454-4020
A constant favorite, Marie’s has had the backs of vegans since arriving from the UP in 2004. Standouts are the Larry David Sandwich and Sweet Potato Quinoa Burger. The deli carries tons of vegan options to-go, such as pasties, salads, mac and cheese (yes, vegan and yes, delicious) and incredible soups that are almost always vegan. Marie’s also carries plenty of options that are not just vegan, but also gluten-free — something hard to find.
919 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids
groverestaurant.com, (616) 454-1000
One of the hippest joints in town, Grove offers what they call an “earth to table” experience. The three courses for $28 is easily one of the best deals in town. Expertly prepared vegetables are accompanied by beautiful sauces in a pleasing-to-the-eye presentation. Another ever-changing menu driven by the season makes every visit seem like your first time. Don’t forget about the amazing beer and wine list.
1441 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids
chezolga.com, (616) 233-4141
We’ve spent the last couple of holidays traveling to the Caribbean and falling in love with the cuisine. Olga Benoit’s Haitian-creole offerings are unique and take us right back to the beaches of the Caribbean. Plantains, creole tofu, spicy slaw and gumbo are all standouts. Huge portions and reasonable prices keep us coming back. The spice is no joke, so order with caution (or reckless abandon if you’re packing Tums).
Outside GR Options
By Lindsay Patton-Carson
If you are looking for some vegan-friendly options outside of Grand Rapids, here are a few places we found.
Apple Valley Natural Foods
3013 W Shore Dr., Holland
avnf.com, (616) 399-8004
Apple Valley is an all-vegetarian market with vegan options as well. It also has locations in Berrien Springs, Battle Creek, Cadillac, Fall River, Grand Rapids Mishawaka and Westmont.
322 Culver St., Saugatuck
thehickorypit.com, (269) 857-6020
This restaurant prides itself in being a barbecue joint. Not only that, Hickory Pit also prides itself in having a separate vegan and vegetarian barbecue menu. Specialty items include a rib plate with vegan riblets and vegan cornbread, as well as vegan baked beans.
People's Food Co-Op
507 Harrison St., Kalamazoo
peoplesfoodco-op.org, (269) 342-5686
This consumer-owned cooperative grocery store brings in whole, local and healthy foods and also has an in-store deli. Both the deli and the store's products have vegan offerings.
1710 West Main St., Kalamazoo
zooroonarestaurant.com, (269) 382-4444
The family owned Zooroona offers multiple vegan-friendly options on its lunch and dinner menus.