It’s no secret that Las Vegas has experienced rapid growth in its vegan dining scene the past couple of years. 2018 has been the city’s most extensive with a handful of vegan restaurants opening in Las Vegas, including The Modern Vegan, Amber’s Smoked Vegan, Chef Kenny’s Asian Vegan Restaurant, Blinders Burgers & Brunch and Tacotarian.
But, that’s not all.
This year, numerous restaurants in Las Vegas also expanded their vegan options, some even launching entire vegan menus where once only a choice or two existed, like at Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch, the hip (and our top pick for a restaurant on The Strip with a vegan menu) Beauty & Essex inside The Cosmopolitan and off-Strip hot spots like Forte Tapas and Makers & Finders, which recently expanded their plant-based offerings even further.
“The vegan scene has grown so much in the last 17 years,” says Lu Vuk, who owns Go Vegan and the now closed Go Raw, one of the city’s original vegan restaurants. “We are a relatively small city by comparison to other major cities that have more vegan restaurants.”
So, what did all of that growth get us?
Las Vegas was recently named the 10th best city for vegan and vegetarian dining in the States. The top 10 features New York City (ranked first), followed by Portland, Orlando, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Scottsdale and San Diego.
The second half of the top cities has DC at number 11, then Tampa, Chicago, Phoenix, Miami, Atlanta, Anaheim, Nashville, Houston and Madison, Wisc. to round out the top 20.
According to WalletHub, which released the rankings, research to determine the best and cheapest places for following a plant-based diet compared 100 largest cities across 16 key indicators of vegan- and vegetarian-friendliness, as well as ranges from the share of restaurants serving meatless options to the cost of groceries for vegetarians to salad shops per capita.
Vegas came in ninth overall for having available, affordable, highly-rated restaurants serving vegan food. The city also ranks 13th in the nation for restaurants serving vegan options with 20.14 percent.
The future for vegan dining in Las Vegas looks bright, thanks to the continued growth and expansion of the vegan dining scene.
“As VegeNation is a community-based restaurant leading a food revolution, we’re stoked that plant-based eating is growing super fast in Las Vegas,” says Kelly Bennett, creative director and co-owner of VegeNation. “With the growth, we love seeing more and more people eat totally vegan every day and people who are adding vegan food into their weekly rotation … we’re stoked the food revolution is growing and we see Las Vegas as having amazing opportunity to be the leader in the country.”
Expect at least four more vegan restaurants to open before the year ends.
And while this counts as a major win for Las Vegas and its vegan dining scene, it’s also important to note that North Las Vegas ranked 96th out of 100 for its vegan and vegetarian options, ahead of only Bakersfield, Calif., Baton Rouge, La. and Fresno, Calif.
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Diana Edelman is the founder of Vegans, Baby. She previously lived and worked in Thailand working for an elephant sanctuary and has traveled around the world speaking about the realities of elephant tourism, being a positive activist and entrepreneur at events including TBEX, SEED Food + Wine, VegFest Puerto Rico, VegFest Toronto and more. Diana is a proud partner with the James Beard Foundation and curates their Vegas Vegan Dinner series at the famous James Beard House, as well as the vegan activation, The Farm Stand, at Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful festival.