Locally-owned vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Grand Rapids

Locally owned vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of Canva

By Claire Mainprize

December 4, 2023

These 15 restaurants make going meatless in Michigan as easy as (veggie) pie.

Finding vegetarian food that’s edible—let alone finger-licking good—hasn’t always been easy, but the food scene in Michigan has come a long way, especially in the city of Grand Rapids. Here are 15 lovable and local restaurants that fit the bill. 

Stella’s Lounge

Price: $$

Address: 53 Commerce Ave. SW

What to Order: Avocado nuggets and vegan chick(pea) wings

Stella’s Lounge is known for its retro arcade games, ginormous stuffed burgers, massive collection of whiskeys, and—perhaps unexpectedly considering the rest of the list—yummy vegan and vegetarian dishes. Locals with dietary restrictions rave about this funky spot on Yelp, claiming it’s the perfect place to get vegan bar food at night. Most of the non-vegan or vegetarian menu items can easily be swapped out, too. And last but not least, the restaurant also has Meatless Monday specials.

Gaia House Café

Price: $$

Address: 1553 Plainfield Ave. NE

What to Order: The Veggie Stash, Mean Green burrito, or tempeh Reuben

Locally owned vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of Gaia House Café via Facebook

If you wake up wanting fresh-squeezed juice and a hearty vegetarian breakfast, look no farther than Gaia House Cafe. In addition to serving only vegetarian and vegan options, the brunch spot also has gluten-free menu items, and the staff is always happy to make substitutions. No wonder this place has a cult following.

Forty Acres Soul Kitchen

Price: $$

Address: 1059 Wealthy St. SE

What to Order: Vegan Soul Rolls and vegan mac-and-cheese

Locally owned vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of Forty Acres Soul Kitchen via Facebook

Forty Acres is a Black-owned soul food kitchen and cognac bar. The menu puts a vegan twist on favorites like grits, gumbo, and “Soulpossible” burgers and nuggets. The alcohol beverage list is also extensive, featuring five Black producers whom you can learn about on the menu. Note that this restaurant does not have a waitstaff; instead, you order through a QR code. 

The Mitten Brewing Co. 

Price: $$

Address: 527 Leonard St. NW

What to Order: Vegan pesto chicken pizza

The Mitten Brewing Co. has three locations in Michigan, but the one in Grand Rapids is the original—and arguably the best. Housed in the historic Engine House #9, the brewery is considered the best pizza spot in the city by many Yelp reviewers. There are many vegan and vegetarian options on the menu—including dishes made with the restaurant’s beloved vegan chicken—and all pizza options can be made with gluten-free crust. 

Little Africa

Price: $

Address: 956 E Fulton St.

What to Order: Injera and spicy tomato soup

Any veteran vegan and vegetarian knows that you can’t go wrong with Ethiopian food, and that’s certainly true of Little Africa. The menu contains zero meat, so saying you’ll have plenty of options is quite an understatement. As is custom, you’re encouraged to eat all of the flavorful dishes with your hands. Note: This is a cash-only establishment, but there is an ATM right across the street. 

Lucy’s

Price: $$

Address: 1747 Plainfield Ave. NE

What to Order: Vegan sausage breakfast sandwich or vegan skillet

Locally owned vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of Lucy’s via Facebook

Lucy’s is known for its local ingredients and fantastic brunch, which includes plenty of plant-based options. You can sub a vegan sausage into homestyle menu favorites like the sausage breakfast sandwich or biscuits and gravy. Other vegan options include the smoothie bowl, avocado toast, tofu scramble, and more.

Rise Authentic Baking Co. 

Price: $$

Address: 1220 Fulton St. W

What to Order: Apple fritter or avocado toast

Locally owned vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of Rise Authentic Baking Co. via Facebook

Rise Authentic Baking Co. menu options are 100% free from soy, dye, meat, and gluten. You might think a place like that would serve bland food, but everything on the menu here is packed with flavor, making it a restricted eater’s paradise.

Tia Juana

Price: $$

Address: 2289 E Beltline Ave. NE

What to Order: Vegan tacos

Tia Juana is a Mexican restaurant with a bright and artistic atmosphere, authentic fare, and vegetarian options. Although there are other meatless dishes on the menu—including the complimentary chips and salsa—the famed vegan tacos contain Impossible Beef, so if you know you’re not a fan of that brand, maybe skip this one.

Field & Fire Cafe

Price: $$

Address: 820 Monroe Ave. NW

What to Order: Oat milk latte with a seasonal vegan muffin or vegan grilled cheese 

Locally owned vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of Field & Fire Cafe via Facebook

Field & Fire Cafe is a casual breakfast and brunch spot that uses local, organic ingredients to make European-style baked goods and other foods. Reviewers say even the vegan/vegetarian baked goods and dishes are both hearty and healthy, but they also warn that the place fills up quickly on weekends, so come early or be ready to wait.

Bobcat Bonnie’s

Price: $$

Address: 1968 Breton Road SE

What to Order: Cereal shooter flight and vegan chick’n avo sandwich 

Locals love the fun vibes, funky menu items, and friendly staff at Bobcat Bonnie’s. Other pluses include the self-serve mimosa and bloody mary bars as well as the plant-based options at “brunchy-lunch,” from vegan fish tacos to vegan scrambles. 

San Chez Bistro

Price: $$$

Address: 38 W. Fulton St.

What to Order: Pastatas Bravas and paella

Locally owned vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of San Chez Bistro via Facebook

San Chez Bistro is the only restaurant on our list to warrant three dollar signs, so you can expect a fine(r)-dining experience. You can also expect exquisite Spanish food, even on the vegan menu (yes, there’s an entire menu devoted to delicious vegan options). The vegan menu includes a handful of tapas and brunch dishes, though many of the tapas on the regular menu are already vegetarian. 

Noble Restaurant

Price: $$

Address: 1851 44th St. SW

What to Order: Gluten-free waffles or vegan breakfast burrito

Locally owned vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of Noble Restaurant via Facebook

The good people at Noble Restaurant believe, “What we eat matters.” The breakfast and lunch spot is beloved by gluten-free folks as well as vegetarians because it has delicious options for both, from GF biscuits and gravy to the Gardener’s hash browns, both of which taste great with turmeric scrambled tofu on the side.

Harmony Brewing Company

Price: $$

Address: 1551 Lake Drive SE

What to Order: Cold roasted vegetables or Pepperphoni pizza

The next time you’re craving pizza and beer, head to Harmony Brewing Company in Eastown. The local, small-batch brewery has a rotating tap list of experimental beers that pair perfectly with its wood-fired pizza featuring local ingredients and vegan and vegetarian options. Note that the service can be a little slow, so don’t come if you’re in a rush.

The Friesian Gastro Pub

Price: $$

Address: 720 Michigan St. NE

What to Order: Spaghetti pesto and warm brownie sundae

Locally owned vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of The Friesian Gastro Pub via Facebook

The Friesian carries an eclectic menu with crowd-favorite options for carnivores and herbivores—as well as their gluten-free friends. The dessert menu is particularly drool-worthy, especially the warm brownie sundae, which just so happens to be vegan and gluten-free.

SpeakEZ Lounge

Price: $$

Address: 600 Monroe Ave. NW

What to Order: Smoked old fashioned and vegan banh mi

SpeakEZ Lounge calls itself The Island of Misfit Toys, while locals call it “THE soccer bar in Grand Rapids.” Some of the draws include the fact that it’s open for every single Premier League game, offers $5 mimosas at weekend brunch, plays live music, and features vegetarian and vegan options. 

Author

  • Claire Mainprize

    Claire Mainprize is a writer and editor who covers the intersections of pop culture, lifestyle, and spirituality. Find more of her work at ClaireMainprize.com.

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