Navigating which restaurants are veg-friendly has never been easier, with apps like HappyCow and Halla mapping out where to find local vegan and vegetarian restaurants. There’s a wealth of wonderful plant-based ways to eat out in Lexington, regardless of the city’s reputation for its tasty fried chicken and hot browns. Compiled here is a non-comprehensive but nonetheless helpful list of such restaurants, many of which I can recommend with the firsthand experience of a Lexington native.
Third Street & Coffee
Where: 257 North Limestone
Specialities: Coffee, Pastries, Sandwiches
This iconic coffee shop is just shy of Transylvania University’s campus and is covered in a colorful array of handmade recycled decor. It also boasts a wide range of plant-based coffee concoctions, be it delicious black coffee in a variety of roasts, green and herbal tea, or lattes made with any of their selection of plant milks. For those who partake in dairy, they have a killer grilled cheese, as well as a swiss and vegetable sandwich aptly called ‘The Veggie’. Their blueberry banana muffin is vegan as well as wheat-free for any gluten sensitivity needs.
Good Foods Co-Op
Where: 445 Southland Drive
Specialities: Organic and Plant-Based groceries; Coffee; Buffet & grab-and-go
Besides their impressive grocery selection of vegan and vegetarian foods as well as cruelty-free cosmetics and personal care products, the Good Foods Co-Op features a plethora of cuisine for dine-in and take-out. Among my personal favorites is their vegan sushi, which supplements fish with a helping of avocado and carrot, not unlike a typical California roll. Their pasty selection varies from day to day, but you can always count on several different vegan and/or gluten-free sweets to choose from. Both their hot buffet and salad bar also accommodate a variety of dietary needs, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Where: 141 E Main Street
Specialties: Sit-down dining; breakfast and lunch
A decades-old staple in not just the Lexington vegetarian community but the Lexington community in general, Alfalfa is legendary for its tasty, veggie-friendly dishes. If vegan biscuits and gravy, pancakes, french toast, omelets, and burgers sound like your style, then look no further. I can personally vouch for the Alfalfa Vegan Burger, which is firmly in the running for best veggie burger in the city. While they may only be open during the daytime on Saturdays and Sundays, their offerings are well worth waiting around for.
Where: 833 Chevy Chase Plaza (as well as two other Lexington locations)
Specialties: Pizza, Pasta; Dine-in and take-out
This local chain has a variety of vegetarian-friendly dishes of the Italian variety, as well as vegan pizza options. Their vegan cheese is among some of the best around, making it a great substitute for the ‘real thing’ if you’re looking to avoid dairy– but there’s also vegan sauce and gluten-free crust to boot. Their numerous options for toppings make for a great place to go for adventurous pizza enthusiasts, plant-based or otherwise. With three locations– one in Chevy Chase, another in Hamburg’s Brighton Shops, and a third on Boston Road, it’s hard to avoid trying this city favorite at least once. Of course, once you do have it, it’s unlikely it will be the last time.
There are, of course, numerous other places to cover when talking about the Lexington plant-based community. Ultimately, the majority of the area’s local digs are full of variety and accommodating to all sorts of dietary needs, and it’s easy to find all sorts of unique vegan and vegetarian options when eating locally. Next time you’re looking for a good black bean burger, your best bet might just be based here in Lexington.