The progressive population of Brooklyn, NY demands eco- and vegan-friendly food options, and the community’s restaurants have responded with gusto. From Modern Love’s vegan comfort food to Toads BK knife-and-fork sandwiches, Brooklyn offers a playground of cruelty-free options for all who seek exceptional eats. Given this vast selection, the decision can be daunting, so we rounded up five local favorites to experience the local flavor of this beloved New York borough. 

 
 
 
 
 
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1. Modern Love
In Williamsburg, Modern Love grabs the attention of pedestrians with its elaborate Modern Love sign—offering guests a first taste of the restaurant’s vibrant interior. You won’t find any cracked red plastic booths inside, but the menu is a reflection of diner food comforts—served with a bit more intention and artful craft. Start with one of the housemade cheesy appetizers such as the Almond Ricotta Toast, or, for the kids-at-heart, the Mozzarella Sticks. The cashew queso-smothered Chorizo Nachos are another stellar option for those craving something more south-of-the-border. Moving onto the entreé, the Hen of the Woods Piccata is an Instagram and customer favorite. It’s like Thanksgiving on a plate, with just the right amount of fried southern charm. Finally, celebrate the end of a good meal with the Strawberry Shortcake Sundae complete with vegan strawberry ice cream, a shortbread cookie, sweet macerated strawberries, and a generous pile of coconut whipped cream. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Chickpea & Olive
While it may be tempting to pass up all the vegan options at the Whole Foods Market hot bar, the plant-based sandwich menu at Chickpea & Olive is worth the restraint. This pop-up-turned-brick-and-mortar is located inside the Williamsburg Whole Foods Market and regularly draws in well-intentioned shoppers planning to cook at home. Menu items range from a selection of knife-and-fork burgers to messy, melty sandwiches. Fan favorites include the Bacon Cheddar Ranch burger made with hickory smoked eggplant bacon, vegan cheddar, bread and butter pickles, and a schmear of herby homemade ranch; and the Phatty Melt featuring the eatery’s signature phatty beet patty smothered with gooey vegan cheddar, a slice of beefsteak tomato, and secret confetti sauce. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Greedi Vegan
Vegan, gluten-free soul food lovers rejoice! Popular eatery Greedi Vegan now has two locations: one in Bed Stuy and the flagship in Crown Heights, so quality plant-based home cooking is never far away. The restaurant’s claim to fame is its Greedi Cauli Bites featuring simply fried florets dunked in a sweet chili sauce. But don’t stop at the appetizers—the menu serves up southern-style classics in a variety of vessels from bowls to tacos to sliders all accompanied by a selection of traditional sides. First-timers are highly advised to try the Soul Bowl comprised of Quinoa-Breaded Fried Chicken, Mac & Goodness, greens, and sweet potatoes. The brunch options, from the cheesy grits to the fruit-and-whip-adorned pancakes, are also excellent selections. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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4. Toad Style BK 
Sometimes, you just really want a sandwich. When the craving calls, don’t yell at your significant other from the next room and demand they make you a seitan on rye—place your order at Toads BK. The soy- and gluten-free menu offers a plethora of plant-based options from the Sunshine Burger sandwiched between a pretzel bun with melted cashew dill cheese, avocado, sweet chili mustard, and arugula to the flatbread-encased Gyro featuring Harissa-spiced shredded oyster mushrooms, artichoke hearts, romaine, tomato, red onion, and tzatziki. Accompany your handhold with one of the outstanding sides from an assortment of fried fare (French fries, Mac N Chz Balls, Cheesy Fried Broccoli, Fried Pickles … you get the idea) to a bright green Greek Kale Salad and the Soup of the Day. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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5. Cafe Planted
This new Carroll Gardens all-in-one healthy lifestyle shop is the all-day spot to grab a bite, sip a superfood smoothie, buy a houseplant, peruse wellness products, or drop by for a customized adaptogenic latte. There’s also a kombucha bar, if that floats your holistic boat. The menu boasts breakfast all day (it’s open until 9pm) including toast, tofu rancheros, and gluten-free pastries. You’ll also find other savory options such as a sweet and sour zucchini noodle-based “lo mein” salad; watermelon poke bowls with jade pearl rice; and various specials such as jackfruit tacos, raw lasagna, and the enticing Planted Tartar made with marinated watermelon, avocado, cucumber, scallions, and seaweed. Swing by the adjoining shop next door for the shop’s own line of CBD chocolate and candy. 

 

Christa Alexis is a writer for VegNews.com as well as a food blogger and a brand ambassador for Sho Nutrition living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Photo credit: Modern Love

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