About three years ago I was inspired to go vegetarian after reading an article about the health benefits and the environmental impacts of giving up meat. Next, it was dairy and soon after I had gone completely vegan. It’s something I feel very strongly about and consider a big part of my identity. So when I was getting ready to start Newhouse NYC, I was nervous but excited to continue my vegan lifestyle. I knew that New York would be a great hub for vegan food, but eating in the city is already expensive and, on top of that, vegan food can tend to be pricey.
It took a few weeks, but I soon found a variety of ways to eat vegan on a budget at some of my favorite spots throughout the city. Whether you’re looking for fresh, delicious, vegetable-based meals, meat-imitation courses, or want to indulge, New York City is brimming with some of the most delicious, fun, and trendy-yet-affordable vegan restaurants around.
Bluestone Lane – 2 E. 90th St: If you’re looking for something close to EHS for breakfast or brunch, you have to check out Bluestone Lane. It’s an Australian-style café located on Museum Mile right across from Central Park. When the weather turned nicer this semester, it became a regular spot for my roommate and me to eat breakfast outside and people-watch. While it’s not a totally vegan café, they do have several items on the menu that are. Our favorites? The coco-nut porridge and the avocado smash toast.
by CHLOE – 40 Lafayette Street: Although it’s an all-vegan café, by CHLOE is an absolute must for anyone. There are locations throughout the city, but make sure you stop at one that has both the café and the bakery. by CHLOE was cofounded by vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, who was also a winner of “Cupcake Wars,” and the sweets are to die for.
One of the best things about living (and eating) in New York City is that you’re never too far away from a delicious salad. Whether it’s Chop’t, Sweetgreen, or fresh&co, there are countless options throughout the city for a “make your own salad” or a seasonal warm bowl full of veggies and grains. At Sweetgreen, the Shroomami warm bowl is full of grains, veggies, portobello, and sesame tofu and is definitely my favorite vegan option. I worked in the Flatiron District and these places had some of the best vegan meals I’ve ever had. Occasionally my boss and I would pop into a Juice Press down the street and grab a Harvey Wallbanger w/ the Works or a Rainforest smoothie for a delicious plant-based sugar fix.
Terri – 60 W 23rd St: Another great thing about NYC is that being vegan doesn’t mean you have to eat boringly. Terri, which has locations in Midtown, Chelsea, and the Financial District, has a variety of vegan options like the Meatball Sub and the Chickpea Tuna Melt that let you venture outside the usual wrap or salad while still staying plant-based.
Whole Foods – 1551 3rd Ave: This Whole Foods Market down the street from the EHS building became a regular stop during my time in New York City. Although it’s a bit pricey, there are a few vegan items you can pick up there that are worth the money. My favorites are the soy barbecue nuggets, the vegan scones, and the vegan sushi. They also have surprisingly cheap frozen veggies and meals that you can buy for an inexpensive lunch to bring to work.
Trader Joes: Although you’ll have to take the train or a ride-service, a food haul from Trader Joe’s is definitely worth it. For one, it’s a much cheaper option to Whole Foods if you need to fill your fridge. Not only that, but you can get just about anything you need there food-wise. My roommate and I would take the subway down every few weeks or so, stock up, then split a Lyft back home with our groceries. They have huge backs of quick oats and granola that we would stock up on for breakfast, and their fruits and veggies have the best prices you’ll find at a grocery store in New York City.
Once you get to New York City, you’ll see how easy it is to maintain a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Practically every restaurant has a vegan option or substitution and the streets are full of spots with delicious plant-based options.