Traditional Arkansas cuisine centers around the rich ingredients of Southern comfort food. Not exactly appealing to all dietary needs, Southern comfort food, amongst other styles of cooking, does not cater to everyone in the state.
Vegan and vegetarian diets have limited options within the state when dining out.
Wanting more than just a salad, people on vegan or vegetarian lifestyles look for restaurants that offer creative alternatives to what they cannot eat. Digging in to where plant-based meals are served, here is a list – in no particular order – of vegan/vegetarian eateries in Central Arkansas.
- Star of India: If you’ve never walked into the Star of India before, don’t be startled by a loud “Welcome home!” from owner and chef Sami Lal. He and his staff will make your experience memorable and exciting with attentive service and special attention to how you prefer your meal to be prepared. The authentic Indian restaurant offers fifteen vegan options (some dishes can substitute for coconut milk) and more than thirty vegetarian options. If there is anything Sami knows more than how to make his customers feel welcome, it’s flavor. Saucy and spicy options in gluten free, vegan or vegetarian – with a basket of naan of course – there’s plenty to take with you when you go.
- MeMe’s Twisted Potato: Produce from local farmers and the restaurant’s very own garden cooked fresh to order is hands down the best scenario. MeMe’s Twisted Potato is a vegan eatery offering plant-based versions of your favorite classics: reuben, BBQ, wings and more. Their namesake, Twisted Potato, is also a highlight of the menu served plain in its twisted glory or with chili and cheese for a little something extra. Check out their website for deals and let your mouth water.
- The Root Cafe: Locally sourced food right on your plate. The Root is known for unique food with fresh flavor that can only be found from farms and local produce in Arkansas. Vegan and vegetarian options are available in diverse ways. Breakfast to dinner, The Root will fill you up with tasty tofu and spicy vegan gluten-free brownies. But don’t forget the kids! Vegetarian and vegan meals are also available for picky-eating munchkins to enjoy (and they’ll never know it’s healthy). Take the whole family and dig in to The Root’s locally sourced cuisine.
- North Bar: If you journey out to the beautiful and growing Argenta District anytime soon, be sure to stop at North Bar for a taste of their eccentric vegan and vegetarian menus. Owner Eric Greer pride the restaurant on its ability to cater to everyone with over fifteen vegan dishes and numerous gluten free options. Hoping to strengthen the local community, North Bar sources utilizes fellow Arkansas bakers and brewers for their menu and beer tap. Their mission is to stay local and give back to the community: so give them a visit and try the Fri-Yay Veggie burger on any day of the week (except Sunday and Monday)!
- Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co: A classic hot spot in Little Rock, Three Fold makes everything in-house daily. Vegetable dumplings are stuffed and steamed buns are patted to perfection the day you order them. Described as “a minimalist, counter-serve space,” you can make your meal quick as to-go or partake in their Reheat + Eat option to enjoy your meal in the comfort of your home. Filled with fresh flavors and paired with savory sides, Three Fold makes the stomach and heart happy with fulfilling veggie options.
- Big Orange: Don’t let the word “burger” scare you off, Big Orange gives customers the option of choosing their burger patty for any burger on the menu according to dietary needs. The veggie patty at Big Orange will be your new love, OR, try the curried lentil and falafel burger’wich. Their signature salads also offer oodles of flavor and freshness with large amounts of veggies, fruits and nuts to make each one stand out against any other salad you’ve ever eaten.
- The House of Mental: “Let food be your medicine,” is the slogan for this growing eatery offering soul food classics that are actually good for the soul. While everything is amazing, try the Everything your first time to experience a large example of the comfort food delicacies they offer. Tucked away off of South Chester, you can spot this restaurant by the signature green heart labeling the establishment as vegan.
- Esters SOMA: A bar, game lounge, plant-based restaurant and vegan grocery store all in one. Owners Lindsey and Evan have created the perfect oasis for anyone looking to have a fun night out with drinks and filling food (from the Omnivore or Plant-Based menus) or for people just wanting to get a vegan fix at Esters grocery nook selling vegan produce and their house-made deli meats, sauces and sides. Whether you want to kick back in the game room with a local draft and some Nugz or stock up on vegan marshmallows, Esters does it all.
- Izzy’s: “Healthy food for healthy people.” Izzy’s menu is lit up like a Christmas tree with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free indicators. For more information and so customers can better understand what they’re ordering, Izzy’s makes a side note explaining the contents of their garlic butter and pointing out which dishes include honey. Veggie tamales, sandwich melts and pizza are only a few of the many choices Izzy’s provides. Trust Izzy’s with your next meal!
- Loblolly Creamery Scoop Shop: A shake not made from dairy products? Yes please! Loblolly offers a variety of vegan ice cream flavors to go inside your vegan and gluten free waffle cone ready to be smothered in toppings. Using local goods from favorite Arkansas farms, breweries and craft food in their made-from-scratch recipes (no artificials) you know exactly what you’re getting and where it came from. The Scoop Shop is happy to welcome you to their ever-growing family and show you why they should be your first choice for vegan ice cream.