eat your greens
More plant-based restaurants are opening their doors in 2023, expanding an already solid list of vegan eateries throughout the city. And with ACL right around the corner, it's important to know where the closest vegan eats are so you're not left scrambling to find a good meal in the heat.
With that said, Austin still has some room for improvement to keep vegans full and satisfied after ranking No. 9 in WalletHub's "Best Cities for Vegans & Vegetarians" report for 2023.
The study evaluated 100 cities based on grocery affordability; diversity of and accessibility to vegan and vegetarian restaurants, farmer's markets, and community gardens; and other lifestyle factors.
Austin specifically had a high affordability ranking with the fifth-lowest cost of groceries for vegetarians out of all 100 cities in the ranking. Laredo (No. 1), Corpus Christi (No. 2), San Antonio (No. 3), and Louisville, Kentucky (No. 4) were all ahead.
As for the highest percentage of restaurants serving vegetarian options, the two North Texas cities of Irving and Plano tied with three non-Texas cities: Henderson, Nevada, Gilbert, Arizona, and Mesa, Arizona. All these made No. 1.
However, that doesn't mean the shift to embrace vegan and vegetarian cuisine in Austin isn't notable enough. Earlier in 2023, a popular Brazilian steakhouse chain "beefed" up (or down) its menu with more plant-based options in an effort to expand its customer base. And in June, venerated vegan staple and former CultureMap Tastemakers winner Counter Culture reopened as a food trailer in the back patio of Tweedy’s Bar in Central Austin.
Austin was the only Texas city to make it into the top 10. The remaining nine contenders are mostly located in West Coast states typically expected to be seen in a report on plant-based eating: California, Oregon, and Washington. On the opposite coast are two additional cities that made the list: Orlando and Miami, Florida (No. 3 and No. 8, respectively). Phoenix, Arizona (No. 5), is the only non-coastal outlier.
The top 10 most vegetarian- and vegan-friendly cities in the U.S. are:
- No. 1 – Portland, Oregon
- No. 2 – Los Angeles, California
- No. 3 – Orlando, Florida
- No. 4 – San Diego, California
- No. 5 – Phoenix, Arizona
- No. 6 – San Francisco, California
- No. 7 – Seattle, Washington
- No. 8 – Miami, Florida
- No. 9 – Austin, Texas
- No. 10 – Oakland, California
Eight other Texas cities made it into the top 50: Irving (No. 18), Lubbock (No. 23), Houston (No. 24), Dallas (No. 25), Plano (No. 33), San Antonio (No. 38), Corpus Christi (No. 41), and Laredo (No. 48).
The full report can be found on wallethub.com.