A Guide to Charlotte’s Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants and Food Trucks

By Beth Mack

March 26, 2023 (updated)

The culinary world has been abuzz with everything plant-forward and plant-based, but vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are not a new phenomenon. Some cultures and religions, like Rastafarian and Jainism, have been practicing or encouraging plant-centric lifestyles for centuries. In addition, people have chosen to adopt vegetarian and vegan diets for a host of reasons, with some of the most popular being animal rights, health, environment, and the ethicality of our current food system.

Vegetarian and vegan food is for everyone to enjoy. Recent innovations in the food science industry have birthed an onslaught of convincing plant-based meat alternatives, allowing restaurants to offer more than salads, tofu, and black bean burgers. From Southern soul food to French fine dining, Charlotte here are some of our favorite vegetarian and vegan establishments.

Ma Ma Wok

Tucked away in Ballantyne not far off Rea Road is Charlotte’s only completely vegetarian and vegan Chinese restaurant. Ma Ma Wok started off as a typical Chinese restaurant, but transitioned to a vegetarian restaurant in 2017. They offer an expansive menu featuring meat alternatives to recreate everything from chicken wings, ribs, fish, shrimp, and even duck. With a plethora of Chinese dishes, persuasive meat alternatives, and spot-on flavors, Ma Ma Wok’s may become your new favorite Chinese takeout place for vegans and non-vegans alike.

11914 Elm Lane
Charlotte, NC 28277

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General Tso’s Tofu from Mama Wok

Fern, Flavors from the Garden

Fern has been one of Charlotte’s premier vegan restaurants offering gourmet vegan food since 2011. For a short period of time during the pandemic, they incorporated cheese and eggs into their menu but recently returned to their all-vegan recipes with the addition of new executive chef Brad Collins. Located in Dilworth, Fern has an inviting atmosphere with a cozy dining room, patio, and a full bar with signature cocktails making it the perfect spot for brunch, lunch, or dinner. While the meticulously crafted menu may be smaller than other places, the flavor is not, and has gained recognition from both meat eaters and non-meat eaters. Stay updated on  their social media platforms to catch their specials and new seasonal menu items.

1419 East Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28203

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Thai Chili Cauliflower Wings at Fern, Flavors from the Garden

Oh My Soul

In a spunky bright blue house located on North Davidson Street in NoDa is the fast-casual, purely vegan restaurant, Oh My Soul. With limited indoor seating, they have transformed the fenced-in backyard into a pet-friendly patio outfitted with picnic and bistro tables, fire pits, and a bar. Their menu features everything from ribs, burgers, loaded waffles, and even some South African dishes in homage to owner Tallulah Duffin’s homeland. If you don’t have time for a meal, drop in to visit their coffee bar and pastry counter featuring fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, and milkshakes.

3046 North Davidson Street
Charlotte, NC 28205

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Greek Goddess wrap from Oh My Soul

Sanctuary Bistro

In March 2020, Charlotte welcomed its first vegan fine dining restaurant, Sanctuary Bistro. Located in south Charlotte, the intimate spot offers brunch, lunch, and dinner (reservations required). Sanctuary Bistro has everything you would expect to find in a fine dining restaurant such as charcuterie, scallops and bacon-wrapped filet mignon, just without the use of animal products. With a well-curated ambiance, dining in is ideal but Sanctuary Bistro also provides carry out and frozen meals to accommodate guests on the go. Connect with them on social media to stay up to date on menu specials and upcoming cooking classes.

6414 Rea Road
Charlotte, NC 28277

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Portabello Rockefeller from Sanctuary Bistro

Romeo’s Vegan Burger

Charlotte rapper Monty Faulkner (Tigo B) and his manager, Lamont Heath, took their collaboration down a different path when they launched Romeo’s Vegan Burger food truck in 2020. Their success led to Charlotte’s first vegan restaurant with a drive-thru when they opened their first brick-and-mortar location off of South Boulevard in December of 2021. Romeo’s features vegan burgers, hand-cut fries, hand-spun vegan milkshakes and house-made lemonades that will satisfy anyone who just wants good food, vegan or not. 

5518 South Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28217

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Where Art Thou Burger with tots from Romeo’s Vegan Burger

RiCoQui (Food Truck) 

Diversifying the vegan food scene, owner and chef Janizel Espinosa started RiCoQui as a pop up in partnership with Banh Mi Brothers. Espinosa’s success led her to purchase a food truck in 2021 to bring plant-based Puerto Rican and Latin American street food to Charlotte. The all-vegan menu features an assortment of empanadas, arepa rellena, salchipapa, and a ham-bori (Beyond Burger served on a plantain bun). You can find RiCoQui frequently at the Uptown Farmers Market, local breweries, and other local venues and events.

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The Hambori at RiCoQui

Dee’s Vegan To-Go

Focusing on vegan comfort food, you can expect to find a selection of burgers, hot dogs, fried ChickN sandwiches, and breakfast all day options. In addition to the delectable homemade dessert offerings that Dee herself creates, they also offer a selection of Luther Dryer’s vegan lemonade. 

Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market
1801 Yorkmount Rd., Building B37
Charlotte, NC 28217

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Hot & Spicy Chickn Sandwich from Dee’s Vegan To-Go

Sri Balaji Caffe

Vegetarianism is a common practice in Indian culture, giving way to restaurants that are purely vegetarian. Sri Balaji Caffe opened its doors in October 2020 in a small, bright blue building tucked right off of Main Street in Pineville. Their menu offers a large variety of South Indian dishes, some of which are vegan, complete with an extensive selection of dosas, utthappams, mini tiffins, and weekend thalis. They also provide a small selection of Indo-Chinese dishes such as paneer fried rice and gobi manchurian. Dine-in seating is limited in the quaint restaurant, but there is a large amount of outdoor patio seating as well as the ability to take your food to go. 

716 Main Street
Pineville, NC 28134

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Paneer Pakoda at Sri Balaji Caffe

Soul Miner’s Garden

Owner Sasha Quinn launched the all-vegan food truck Soul Miner’s Garden at the onset of the pandemic in 2020. Business has thrived ever since, resulting in Quinn opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant and market in Gastonia and a new location at Camp North End. The restaurant boasts an eclectic, homey vibe to complement the menu of comfort foods such as nachos, wings, reubens, BBQ, cheesesteaks, and more. The market offers a selection of vegan snack items as well as pre-made vegan foods to take home. 

3204 Union Road
Gastonia, NC 28056

1801 N. Graham St. STE. 101
Charlotte, NC 28206

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Philly – oyster mushrooms, peppers, onions, cheese, agave mustard on Duke’s hoagie.

ZiZi’s Vegan

ZiZi’s is one of Charlotte’s oldest vegan restaurants, with their original location having opened in 2009. Over the years, they shifted their business model, closing their brick-and-mortar restaurant in favor of a food truck. Regardless of location, you can find ZiZi’s serving Charlotte with its selection of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, rice bowls, and smoothies made with real fruit.  

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Roasted Cauliflower Tacos from ZiZi’s Vegan

Ve-Go Food Truck

You can find Ve-Go food truck all over Charlotte with a rotating menu of vegan comfort foods such as bang bang shrymp, krab cakes, Chik’n wingz, Hennessy-glazed short ribz, and birria tacos. On weekends, you can also try out their brunch menu which includes beefless hash, cheezy grits, a tofu scramble, and their popular peach cobbler pancakes. Ve-Go owners and chefs Akil and Paris Courtney started the truck in 2019, seeking to simply to provide the Charlotte area with delicious vegan food to go. 

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VeGo Togo Food Truck

Chaat ‘N’ Dosa

Located in Ballantyne, Chaat ‘N’ Dosa offers solely vegetarian South Indian street food. With an extensive menu and affordable prices, you can truly get a taste of the flavor explosion that is South Indian cuisine. Opened in 2019, Chaat ‘N’ Dosa has a fast casual setting where you order items a la carte or in combo sizes via kiosk. While their dosas and chaats are an obvious choice, Chaat ‘N’ Dosa offers everything from vadas and puris to thalis. 

8624 Camfield Street
Charlotte, NC 28277

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Chaat ‘N’ Dosa

Bean Vegan Cuisine

Located in an unassuming building off Independence is one of Charlotte’s oldest vegan restaurants. Bean boasts an extensive menu of 100% vegan comfort foods ranging from BBQ, cheesesteaks, bratwurst, reubens, meatloaf, crab cakes, and even pimento cheese. Complete your meal with one of their delectable desserts, like a vegan milkshake. If you are craving breakfast, stop by on Saturday or Sunday to check out their breakfast offerings. 

3001 E. Independence Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28205

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Jalapeño Cheddar Burger from Bean Vegan Cuisine

Love in Action Cafe

Brand new to the Charlotte vegan scene is Love in Action Cafe, which opened in February. Owner Traci Jones has combined vegan soul food and health-centric sea moss smoothies all into one menu. For comfort foods, chef Dumar Hemmingway cooks up classics such as meatless meatloaf, tacos, barbeque sliders, and curry. The Love is Always Love sea moss smoothie bar also offers cereal bowls and ice cream. If you are looking for something sweet, they have partnered with Lady Ren to bring in a selection of her vegan baked goods. 

4419 Tuckaseegee Road
Charlotte, NC 28208

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Vegan tacos from Love in Action Cafe

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