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Dallas makes a respectable showing on list of top 20 vegan cities in U.S.

Dallas makes respectable showing on list of top 20 vegan cities in US

Belse vegan
Dallas is home to Belse, which is a big deal in the vegan restaurant scene. Courtesy photo

A new survey of the top 20 cities in the U.S. where it's best to be a vegan has determined which city is the most vegan of all. Spoiler: It's not Dallas. Boo.

But Dallas did make the list, coming in at No. 12, boasting 209 restaurants that are vegan or offer vegan options.

The survey by the team at Meal Delivery Experts set out to determine which cities have the most vegan food options. They compiled the 20 most populous cities in the U.S., then used data from TripAdvisor to count how many restaurants or food venues in each city offers at least one vegan option.

New York comes in at No. 1, blowing everyone else away with 1464 restaurants or food venues offering vegan options — more than double the number than any other city on the list.

No. 2: Los Angeles is in second place, with 705 restaurants or food venues offering vegan options. Los Angeles has among the widest variety of cuisines including vegan Korean, Ethiopian, and Thai food.

No. 3: Chicago, with 489 restaurants or food venues offering vegan options, which is a surprise since Chicago is such a big meat town, although the city is best known for deep-dish pizza, and many Chicago restaurants now offer a vegan alternative.

Whether motivated by health, environmental, or ethical reasons, the number of vegans in the US is rapidly increasing, reaching new heights in 2022. One in ten, or 10 percent, of Americans now consider themselves vegan or vegetarian.

The dollars are also there, with the plant-based industry worth over $7 billion in the US in 2022.

The milk substitute market is valued at over $3 billion in 2022.

The meat substitute market is valued over $1 billion in 2022.

Houston and Austin both make the top 10. Houston comes in at No. 6, with 312 restaurants — snatching the surprise win for top vegan city in Texas away from Austin, which has a bigger reputation for being veg-friendly; Austin is No. 8 on the list with 286 restaurants.

San Antonio is No. 13, with 202 vegan- or vegan-friendly establishments, just getting nosed out by Dallas.

Dallas' vegan scene is noteworthy for a few reasons. It's the de facto birthplace of the Mexican vegan trend, in which Mexican restaurants switch to an entirely vegan menu, a national trend that was pioneered by El Palote Panaderia in Dallas' Pleasant Grove neighborhood.

Dallas is also home to the first Belse, the gourmet vegan restaurant in downtown Dallas that's a spinoff of famed L.A. restaurant Little Pine. A second location of Belse just opened in New York on June 14. So we had it before New York, ha ha, sorry No. 1 city.

These are things that earned Dallas its very first spot on the 2019 list of Top 10 Vegan Cities in the U.S. compiled by PETA, which, no offense to Meal Delivery Experts, is a much more authoritative source on all matters of vegan and animals.

The real tragedy and misleading story is Fort Worth, which is in last place, with 68 restaurants or food venues offering at least one vegan option. Despite what the numbers may say, Fort Worth has the buzziest vegan scene in Texas right now with places like Pizza Verde, Zonk Burger, Mariachi's Dine-In, and is also home to Texas' most famous vegan restaurant, Spiral Diner.

But by sheer numbers, Fort Worth is beat even by Oklahoma City and San Jose, California, tied with 80 restaurants or food venues each. What a travesty.

The full list, by ranking: 

  1. New York - 1464
  2. Los Angeles - 705
  3. Chicago - 489
  4. San Francisco - 467
  5. San Diego - 385
  6. Houston - 312
  7. Seattle - 309
  8. Austin - 286
  9. Denver - 261
  10. Philadelphia - 258
  11. Phoenix - 234
  12. Dallas - 209
  13. San Antonio - 202
  14. Charlotte, NC - 176
  15. Jacksonville, FL - 140
  16. Indianapolis - 140
  17. Columbus, Ohio - 137
  18. San Jose - 80
  19. Oklahoma City - 80
  20. Fort Worth - 68