By Emily Kichler Emily is the founder of Lēlē Stern, a sustainable and vegan fashion label in New York City.  Going vegan isn't just about the cute animals, though they are quite compelling. With more and more evidence being revealed about the harsh impacts of the meat and dairy industries on the planet (heard about California recently?), going animal-free is looking more and more attractive. And these restaurants will show you just how delicious being an environmentalist can be. champs diner

Champs Diner

Sometimes, the best way to people’s hearts is through their stomachs. Champs is where my non-vegan friends prefer to go when they are in town, because Champs makes “chicken” better than a non-vegan restaurant. This family style diner will satisfy any cravings with ease. Just give yourself some time to look over the menu, as there are so many options! 197 Meserole St, Manhattan (718) 599-2743

Champs Junior

620 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn (347) 844-9412

Champs Bakery

760 Bushwick Avenue Brooklyn  vspot

V-Spot

Yes, it’s as hot as it sounds! Latin cuisine, out-of-this-world empanadas, beautiful back patio, hilarious comedy every first Thursday of the month, a brand new location on the lower east side… need I say more? 156 5th Ave, Brooklyn (718) 928-8778 12 St Marks Pl, Manhattan (212) 254-3693 quintessence

Quintessence

Quintessence is New York’s organic, meat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and raw food haven! With its strong advocacy of health and equally strong advocacy of quality ingredients and flavor, Quintessence is the place for ultimate foodies to unite. The atmosphere is tranquil and encourages you to take your time in nourishing your body. 263 E 10th St, Manhattan (646) 654-1823  little choc apothecary 2

Little Choc Apothecary

Little Choc is New York’s first all-vegan creperie, hosting a menu of unique and thoughtful ingredient combinations, sweets, smoothies, juices, and a broad tea menu. If you have never had a pizza crepe, then you should probably run—not walk—over to Little Choc. Just make sure that you get some coconut bacon in there—there will be no regrets. 141 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn (718) 963-0420  angelica kitchen 2

Angelica Kitchen

Angelica is dedicated to farm-to-table freshness, guaranteeing foods that are traded fairly and grown locally and organically. Angelica uses renewable energy sources and composts all food scraps, making each bite of your meal that much more decadent and appreciated. 300 E 12th St, Manhattan (212) 228-2909  terri 2

Terri

From dense, savory sandwiches to green salads, smoothies, juices, ginger shots, and beyond, this place has got you covered. Terri is a great spot if you’re on the go, as seating is limited. Just grab a little something on your way to work, and I can guarantee, lunch at the office has never tasted so good! 60 west 23rd street, Manhattan (212) 647-8810 100 Maiden Lane, Manhattan (212) 742-7901 bunna

Bunna

Vegan Ethiopian food? Yes please! If you call ahead, you can even have your dish made with gluten-free teff. This place also has live music and traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies every week—an experience well worth having. 1084 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn (347) 295-2227  jungle cafe

Jungle Café

If a weekly all-you-can-eat vegan buffet sounds good to you, then this is your place. This is not your traditional brunch spot either, as each dish is prepared with a great deal of intention and love. Vibrations are high and food is tasty here. 996 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn (347) 987-4981  hangawi 2

Hangawi

This relaxing Korean-style restaurant has a meditative atmosphere with a unique menu of flavorful, clean, and fulfilling ingredients. The cocktails are also superb. 12 E 32nd St, Manhattan (212) 213-0077  sun in bloom

Sun in Bloom

Sun in Bloom specializes in clean, organic, healthful, tasty food with a number of gluten-free, raw, and macrobiotic options. The atmosphere is sunny, open, and inviting, making it great for both having a nice cup of tea alone or dining with others. 460 Bergen St, Brooklyn (718) 622-4303 165 Church St, Manhattan (212) 791-6700 blossom 2

Blossom

Blossom provides an upscale, intimate dining scene for the vegan in the mood to impress. Food is carefully and artfully plated—not to mention delicious. 187 Ninth Ave, Manhattan (212) 627-1144 43 Carmine St, Manhattan (646) 438-9939 507 Columbus Ave, Manhattan (212) 875-2600

Best Places for Dessert

clementine

Clementine

This place is best known for being able to satisfy your sweet tooth in oh so many ways—including those of the gluten-free variety. But if you happen to come with a little more room in your belly, the sandwiches are to die for! And on Sundays, if you’re able to make it before they sell out, there are some delicious biscuits and gravy as well. 299 Greene Ave, Brooklyn (718) 483-8788  dun-well

Dun-Well Donuts

Donuts of the best variety, for vegans and non-vegans alike. This place has had so many rave reviews, and I can most definitely understand why. The donut flavors are always changing, unique, and mouthwatering. There is also, for the indulgent souls out there, such a thing as a donut sundae. I know. 222 Montrose Ave, Brooklyn (347) 294-0871  erin mckenna 2

Erin McKenna’s Bakery

Erin McKenna’s Bakery, a.k.a Babycakes, does vegan, gluten-free desserts AND they don’t use soy or nuts, AND YET they have the most moist, dense, cakey donuts I have ever tasted. Flavors are always rotating and begging to be tried. 248 Broome St, Manhattan (212) 677-5047 s_IMG_5436

Bonus: Vegan Shop-up

Every weekend, small, local vendors get together and put out an array of vegan foods and products, usually in Bushwick at the Pine Box Rock Shop. It’s glorious! Vegan Shop-up website

Emily Kichler_inside outAbout Emily:

After adopting a vegetarian diet at age eight, I finally did some deeper research of the meat and dairy industries a few years ago and made the switch to a vegan lifestyle. Being a student, at the time, of fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, my research carried over into the clothing and textile industries as well. This then led me on a year-long journey around the United States, ridding myself of excess, digging my hands in the dirt, and finding solutions to some of the problems I’d found. Fast forward a couple of years, and my research has now culminated into a new company called Lēlē Stern, where I work with a mix of upcycled, recycled, organic, and vegan materials. My goal is to continue learning and expanding, using Lēlē Stern as my platform for sharing and connecting with other eco-loving individuals. Feel free to connect at emily@lelestern.com regarding any inquiries, collaborations, or just to say hello!