You could adopt an animal product-free diet for January (dubbed, in the going style, “Veganuary”) and easily eat at a different Southern Nevada restaurant every day this month, so much has the local selection of vegan options increased. Vegans, Baby founder and CEO Diana Edelman keeps a current list of fully vegan sit-down eateries, and she says there are a couple dozen today, compared with the five that existed when she launched the website in 2016. And her list doesn’t include places where you can only get one specialized item, such as pastry or ice cream, or omnivore joints that also offer vegan options. With those, the list would be much longer.
“We have hundreds that are vegan-friendly now,” Edelman says. “The Strip’s first (fully vegan) one opened this week, Truth & Tonic. It started as a traditional restaurant at Canyon Ranch (Spa and Fitness) at the Venetian. The chef went vegan, and with it being in a wellness spa, it made sense for him to transition the restaurant to fully vegan. I think that’s the start of something really big.”
Edelman attributes the change to three converging social phenomena: people’s awareness of the link between meat diets and climate change, the mainstream popularity of documentaries exposing problems with large-scale animal agriculture, and health consciousness.
“I feel like people need to be able to make a change that has an impact,” she says, “and embracing a plant-based diet is one way to do that.”
Vegan-curious? Here’s a roundup of recently opened restaurants and specially introduced menus to get you started.
On Jan. 16, the Downtown pizzeria that pays homage to daredevil Evel Knievel is adding a Flower Power Vegan Menu to its roster of pizzas and sides. It includes 10 items, from your basic grandma-style cheese pizza to the Meat Haters (with fake bacon, beef, and sausage). There are also sides, salad, and chicken fingers. 508 Fremont St., 702-840-6460, evelpie.com
Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
The high-end Italian eatery across from the Hard Rock went all out for vegans, with a full menu of a dozen animal-free appetizers, pasta dishes, and main courses. They range from the simple (roasted carrots) to the complex (risotto caprese), and even include one “chicken” dish. (Right: the vegan Cavatelli Bolognese) 4480 Paradise Road, 702-364-5300, ferraroslasvegas.com
Known for its food trucks, the brick-and-mortar location of this festival favorite was our Best of the City pick for vegan restaurant. They had us at the crispy chicken sandwich, but the cheesecake sealed the deal. 7550 W. Lake Mead Blvd., 702-929-2244, gardengrilllv.com
No Butcher Deli/Restaurant
How many times have you said, “I’ll go vegan when I can get barbecue”? Well, it’s time to eat those words, friend, and kick your baby-back ribs habit. This place has delicious substitutes for a half-dozen favorite barbecue and deli sandwiches, along with the usual sides. 3565 S. Rainbow Blvd., 702-268-7488, nobutcher.com
Pizza 108 (All Vegan Pizza place)
You can’t eat in at Pizza 108, but who cares? For about 10 bucks, you get one of five personal-size (12-inch) pizzas in either vegan or vegetarian versions. The only difference between the two is the cheese. Their chewy, smoky, handmade crust is among the best in town. (Right: The Duff — Buffalo Chikn and vegan cheese) 2013 S. Highland Ave., 702-737-2120
Everybody’s favorite vegan taco joint recently opened second location Downtown. To celebrate, they permanently added the giant taco, which had been intended only as the November special, to the menu. The monster hand-food is 14 inches long, 7 inches tall, and stuffed with French fries, the plant-based meat of your choice, lettuce, pico, guacamole, cheddar, and crema. 1130 S. Casino Center Blvd. #170, 702-251-3853
True Food Kitchen
Though it’s not strictly vegan, Phoenix-based chain True Food Kitchen is a favorite among plant-based eaters because of its simple ingredients and clearly marked options (not to mention the Dr. Weil-inspired anti-inflammation menu). The Summerlin location opened last year, and a new Strip location is coming to Caesars Palace in February. 10970 Rosemary Drive #160, 702-863-1000, truefoodkitchen.com
Okay, so this isn’t an eatery, per se — it’s actually a supermarket — but it’s a place where you get food, and for die-hard vegans it offers the relief of knowing that everything there is animal-free, so you don’t have to spend all day reading labels. It’s open weekdays 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and weekends 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and says it plans to donate a portion of its profits to a different animal charity each month. 2301 E. Sunset Road, Suite 8-9, veg-in-out.com