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Food & Drink

Looking for vegan soul food in Baltimore? These restaurants have you covered.

Land of Kush offers vegan curry chicken, candied yams and live kale salad among other vegan favorites.

There is no shortage of good vegan soul food in Baltimore — no matter what neighborhood you find yourself in.

Contrary to what algorithms on social media may showcase, veganism has been steadfast for generations in communities of color, which is especially noticeable in Baltimore, a minority-majority city.

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Dining vegan doesn’t necessarily have to mean soggy tofu, quinoa bowls and green juices — it’s also plant-based versions of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, red velvet cake and so much more. Many vegan restaurant owners of color in Baltimore advocate for increased accessibility to healthy vegan foods that also stay true to one’s cultural roots, which is where vegan soul food comes in.

Vegan versions of meats can vary from restaurant to restaurant — alternatives include soy, chickpeas, beans, oyster mushrooms, seitan, tofu and other textured vegetable proteins.

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With Maryland Vegan Restaurant Month in full swing (it runs through Aug. 28), here’s a look at some of our local favorites:

Dodah’s Kitchen

Dodah's Kitchen at 1210 N. Charles Street.

This charming spot in Mt. Vernon has established itself as a vegan soul food haven. Items like fried fish, candied yams, “chick’n” waffles, banana bread and more decorate its menu.

Dodah’s Kitchen affirms itself as a restaurant that upholds Afro-vegan traditions while making veganism both accessible and delicious, according to its website.

I stopped at Dodah’s one weekend in July before driving to a small beach 20 minutes outside of Baltimore. As I drove along, the smell of chicken wafted from the brown paper to-go bag that sat patiently in my passenger seat. Despite being in the car for 20 minutes, there was no compromise in the crunchy texture of their plant-based fried chicken sandwich and Old-Bay-seasoned fries.

If you’re looking for more savory entrees, you can find vegan versions of pot roast, BBQ ribs, pepper steak, and fried fish on their menu.

1210 N. Charles St., Baltimore. 202-883-6324.

The Land of Kush

Naijha Wright-Brown, owner of The Land Of Kush, a vegetarian restaurant in Baltimore, holds a takeout container of some of the restaurant's lunchtime offerings.

Tucked away on a street corner in Seton Hill, this Black-owned soul food restaurant pulses with a comforting energy that is detectable from the moment you step in: walls adorned with Black art, a display case stocked with different plant-based baked goods — cornbread, piña colada cake, toffee-crumble cake, cinnamon rolls — and newspaper clippings lovingly framed on walls.

As one of the only vegan restaurants in the area when it opened in 2011, The Land of Kush is undoubtedly a space for cultivating community. In addition to serving award-winning food, co-owners Naijha Wright-Brown and Gregory Brown have been leading several community outreach endeavors for years.

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Some community projects include events like Vegan Soulfest, a three-day vegan food and music festival that encourages people to explore the benefits of plant-based foods while celebrating community.

In Baltimore, 1 in 4 residents live in a food desert — an area with limited access to healthy foods, according to a 2015 John Hopkins study.

Wright-Brown, who is also the executive director of the Black Veg Society, stressed the importance of incorporating more plant-based foods into meals and relying less on processed foods.

“When you look around the community — especially low-income and marginalized communities — everything is processed,” said Wright-Brown. “High fat, high sodium, high sugar cheap products — it’s by design.”

840 N. Eutaw St., Baltimore. 410-225-5874.

My Mama’s Vegan

Debonette Wyatt-James is owner of My Mamas Vegan Cafe on Greenmount Avenue in Waverly.

You’ll find this vegan comfort food spot on the corner of Greenmount Avenue and East 30th Street, an area in Waverly working towards building a stronger sense of community.

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“The diversity of this neighborhood amazes me,” chef-owner Debonette Wyatt-James said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun last November. “I hadn’t counted on it.”

Their signature all-vegan Cajun-style fried chicken sandwich features a buttery chicken patty with melted vegan cheese tucked in a brioche bun, topped with fresh spinach, pickles, tomato and grilled onions. The special house sauce tops off the flavors packed into this mighty sandwich.

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Additionally, the menu includes macaroni and cheese, a fried jerk “chik’n” sandwich, corn on the cob, potato salad and more.

My Mama’s Vegan was voted as the Best Vegan Restaurant in the Baltimore Sun in 2021.

2915 Greenmount Ave., Baltimore. 443-388-8189.

NuVegan Cafe

Immediately after biting into their baked macaroni and cheese, I scrambled for my phone and double-checked NuVegan Cafe’s website to make sure they were actually vegan.

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Alongside flaky “chick’n” drumsticks and red velvet cake, which both came neatly packaged in a plastic to-go container, NuVegan also serves up BBQ tofu, fried vegan fish fillet, garlic kale, sweet potatoes, cornbread and more.

The family-owned business has three restaurant locations in Washington, D.C., College Park and Baltimore, and they frequently partner with authors, chefs, nutritionists, and health enthusiasts to “provide knowledge and tools for natural lifestyle living,” according to their website.

3105 St. Paul St., Baltimore. 443-721-6022.


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