BY: TAINAYA NASH
Soul food restaurants are tasty, familiar and a guaranteed good time. But what about a soul food restaurant that reminds you of your mama's home cooked meals and is healthy at the same time?
NuVegan Cafe, formerly known as Woodland's Vegan Bistro, is one of the few 100 percent vegan restaurants in Washington, D.C. that also offers soul food on their menu. Owners Vernon Woodland and Lynn Woodland created NuVegan cafe to show that vegan cuisine can be just as delectable as your other favorite food options.
They pride themselves in having respect for the environment, animals and good health. In fact, The majority of the food on the menu contains soy and wheat as the base ingredient.
"Our mission is to become the motivating force that sparks a movement towards global awareness by redefining the perception of vegan cuisine," said the cafe.
Best of all, the cuisine offered at NuVegan is not only for those that live a vegan lifestyle, but it is for those that simply enjoy good food. A few of their signature items are the Vegan Chick'n Drummies, Vegan Crab Cakes and their Vegan Mac and Cheese.
In April, NuVegan Cafe was voted the best vegan and vegetarian restaurant of 2018 by the Washington City Paper.
Their menu offers an array of items ranging from sandwiches, brunch options, cold and warm sides, baked goods, pressed squeezed juices, smoothies all the way to shakes.
The vegan food hub is helping more than just the District. The first NuVegan Cafe opened in 2009 in D.C., and now they have three locations, one in Washington, D.C., College Park, Maryland and Richmond, Virginia, as well as a food truck in D.C.
This year, Washington, D.C. was ranked the 11th most vegetarian and vegan friendly city, according to Wallet Hub. It is because of places like NuVegan that make that reality possible.
In 2015, the "Woodlands" decided to change the name to "NuVegan" due to future plans to such as franchising the restaurant. Their success so far makes the restaurant a high prospect for potential individuals looking to franchise a vegan restaurant, especially people of color. This pushes not only for healthy eating, but entrepreneurship as well. Black business owners are encouraged to bring a NuVegan Cafe to their neighborhood.
Making vegan soul food popular helps propel Black veganism as a whole. Veganism in the U.S. has been on a steady rise over the past couple of years. According to The Vegan Society, veganism increased by 987 percent in 2017 and is expected to be one of the biggest food trends in 2018.
There is no better time than now to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new like vegan soul food, especially when you have eateries like NuVegan Cafe.