In a city renowned for hot chicken, honky tonks and meat ‘n’ threes, you might not expect to find much vegan food. It’s true that you probably won’t have much luck on Broadway, but venture out into any Nashville neighborhood and vegan food is plentiful. From upscale restaurants serving local and seasonal vegetables, to dive bars and soul food joints, Nashville vegan restaurants are decidedly delicious.
The Southern V
Feeling left out of the Nashville hot chicken craze? Don’t! The Southern V, located in the Buchanan Street Business District, has you covered with a completely vegan version that is just as hot as the original dish.
As Nashvillians like to say: hot chicken is so hot it’s a 24-hour commitment. The Southern V also serves regional classics like turnip greens, mac ‘n’ cheeze and coleslaw, plus chick’n and waffles for breakfast on the weekends.
Koko’s Ice Cream
Koko’s is the love child of two musicians – one from Wisconsin, the other from Amsterdam – who happened to meet and fall in love in Nashville. It began as a tiny scoop shop pulled around on a bike, then expanded to a brick and mortar in the shipping container village at OneC1ty in 2016.
Not only is their ice cream vegan, but it’s completely nut-free. They have six flavors in the case that rotate seasonally, but you’ll always find “holy chocolate” on the menu. In the words of co-owner Jerusa van Lith, “It’s the smoothest, richest most seductive chocolate ice cream you’ll get your hands on.”
In warmer months, be sure to check Koko’s social media to find the location of their bike, which still hits the road for special events.
The BE-Hive Deli & Market
For fans of faux meat, don’t miss The BE-hive Deli & Market in East Nashville. Owner and founder Ben Stix is another musician turned restauranteur because … Nashville.
In fact, the “B” and “E” in BE-hive stand for the name of his former band, Born Empty. He’s a veteran of the kitchen at Wild Cow and now distributes vegan “meat” such as seitan, deli slices, chipotle chorizo, breakfast sausage and chicken wings to restaurants in every corner of town.
At the deli, regulars rave about Italian hoagies and crunch wraps. The market is very small with a few picnic tables, so consider grabbing your vegan subs to-go for a picnic in Cornelia Fort Park, an abandoned airport turned public space just 10 minutes down the road.
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A dark, divey bar near the heart of East Nashville is probably the last place you’d go looking for great vegan food, but as far as Nashville vegan restaurants go it has some of the best.
Thanks to kitchen manager Beca Lewis, better known locally as the Feral Pastry Chef, nearly every menu item has a vegan counterpart. We’re talking crispy, crunchy, craveable, late-night bar food like sloppy joe sliders, breakfast burritos, and totchos (vegan tater tot nachos).
After you wash down your vegan mac & cheese burger with a PBR, catch a show in the back room or hang out on the patio with locals.
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The Wild Cow
The Wild Cow was the first vegan restaurant on the Eastside and after 10 years in business, it’s easy to see why it’s still a staple of the community.
Feast on vegetable-heavy meals like a quinoa bowl topped with local produce from White Squirrel Farm and house-made aioli, or you can go for vegan comfort food like buffalo tempeh strips with ranch.
As a bonus perk, Wild Cow offers vegan, gluten-free, and peanut-free desserts from Nashville bakery Vegan Vee. While Wild Cow is more of a casual cafe, it’s nearby sister restaurant Graze is a full-service bistro and bar open for brunch and dinner.
If you’re looking for light, healthy, seasonal vegan food in a cute spot, Avo is the place to be. Located in a trendy shipping container village inside new-age development OneC1ty, Avo is airy, modern and earthy all at once. The menu features produce from local growers such as Lauren Palmer of Bloomsbury Farm and Jeffrey Orkin of Greener Roots Farm, Nashville’s first large-scale hydroponic venture. Come to Avo for the beautiful seasonal food and stay for the avocado margarita – a staple on the menu since opening day and a local favorite loved by meat eaters and vegans alike.
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Riddim n’ Spice
A recent addition to Nashville’s dining scene, Riddim n Spice is owned and run the sons of iconic Jamaica Way proprietor Ouida Bradshaw, Kamal and Rashean. Their menu is focused on Caribbean flavors with dishes like arroz con gandules (rice and beans), cucumber mango salad and fried plantains.
While they do serve jerk chicken, the majority of their menu is vegan- including island spice seitan they make in-house, BBQ jerk jackfruit and soy chick’n guisado. They are adding more and more vegan options as they grow, as well as drinks made with fresh-pressed sugarcane juice.
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