Veg-Friendly Restaurants Take Center Stage

Veggie-Grill-All-American-Stack.jpgWith just a little over a month under our belts, it seems pretty safe to say that 2013 is the year of the veg restaurant. From sea to shining sea, Americans will be dining on compassionate cuisine thanks to the likes of Veggie Grill, Native Foods, and LYFE Kitchen.

An MFA staff favorite, the all-vegan Veggie Grill, known for its All Hail Kale Salad and All-American Stack Burger, made a huge splash in January when it announced plans to double its storefronts over the next 18 months. In its fourth round of fundraising, the restaurant chain procured more than $20 million in stock funding. It specifically plans to expand in Seattle and Portland, as well as to increase its presence in California. Plans to move eastward are also in the works.

After a banner year in 2011, Chicago-based vegan restaurant Native Foods decided to expand. Last year the restaurant opened new locations in southern California, Denver, and Portland. Currently owned and run by Andrea McGinty and her husband, Daniel Dolan, Native Foods shows no signs of slowing its pace. The couple hired the former head of Wolfgang Puck Casual Dining division Ron Biskin, who now serves as the president of Native Foods. Expect more Native Foods locations, including on the East Coast, to open soon.

LYFE Kitchen, the brainchild of Mike Roberts, former president of McDonald's, is reinventing the fast-food restaurant. Roberts tapped vegan celebrity chef Tal Ronnen to help develop the menu, and the result is veg-friendly fare featuring healthy dishes that showcase tofu, quinoa, and kale. Gardein's plant-based "chicken" also appears in a variety of dishes. LYFE ambitiously aspires to open 250 franchises in the next five years. Locations in Palo Alto and Culver City, California, are currently up and running.

Whether you're dining out or eating in, choosing delicious vegan meals has never been easier. For more veg-friendly restaurants in your area, check out For meat-free recipes, visit