Fifteen popular Durham, NC restaurants are preparing special vegan meals for the 4th annual Bull City Vegan Chef Challenge. With the highest participation to date, the eateries—including seafood-centric Saltbox and Southern Beyu Caffe—are creating vegan dishes centered on this year’s theme of “Planet Protein” that will be served throughout the month of April. Diners will cast votes for their favorite restaurants in categories such as best overall dish, best presentation, and best dessert. North Carolina is grouped with states often referred to as the “Barbecue Belt,” and the level of interest in this year’s vegan challenge is a sign that veganism is gaining traction in the South. “The whole idea is to make more room at the table for everybody,” Challenge co-founder and animal-activist Eleni Vlachos said. Vlachos believes the challenge will influence restaurant owners to keep vegan dishes on their menus year-round.