Dayton, Ohio doesn’t have a completely vegan restaurant (yet), but many of the Gem City’s popular restaurants serve plenty of vegan options. In and around the downtown area, there are several promising menus with a variety of worthwhile vegan options—no sad salads or modifications needed. Keep this list handy the next time you find yourself in or around Dayton. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1. The Butter Cafe
The Butter Cafe is simply the best in town for a great vegan brunch—at any time of day. The seasoned tofu scramble served with a side of veggie sausage, chunky herb potatoes, and toast with vegan butter is a must, and you can get it for breakfast or up until closing at 3pm. Other noteworthy vegan options include the plump tofu burritos, fluffy pancakes, stacked Impossible Burger creations, and divine snickerdoodle, strawberry, and lemon cupcakes. To-go box, please! 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Lucky’s Taproom & Eatery
Lucky’s Taproom & Eatery in the Oregon District has stepped it up when it comes to next-level, vegan-friendly bar food. The very accommodating late-night spot offers innovative spins on traditional fare like vegan pesto grilled cheese (with the option of adding chik’in), fried pickles, nachos, jerk chik’in, juicy soy burgers, loaded hot dogs, perfect fries, a BLAT, and so much more. All vegan options are prepared on a dedicated grill, so you won’t run into any cross-contamination, either. Wash all that down with a vegan-friendly beer on tap such as New Holland’s Mad Hatter or Knee Deep’s Oopsie Dhazy.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Ghostlight Coffee
Stop by the charming, independently owned Ghostlight Coffee for a rotating menu of outstanding baked goods. Whether you’re in the mood for a specialty pastry, Belgian waffle, doughnut, cookie, or sweet bread, you’re sure to find something to satisfy within the pastry case. Pair it with a lovingly made soy, coconut, or almond milk espresso beverage. For savory fare, visit on a Saturday and try the Breakfast Slider featuring Impossible chorizo and a polenta egg sandwiched between a toasty English muffin. Just get there early—these sell out fast. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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4. Wheat Penny Oven and Bar 
Relax inside this rustic-chic restaurant and order all the vegan pizzas for the table. Favorites include the Veganator (a red sauce pizza with smoked jackfruit, spinach, peppers, onions, and cashew ricotta), the Unbeetable (a beetroot pesto base with spinach and cashew ricotta), and Build Your Own. If one of the non-vegan options grabs your attention, you can substitute Follow Your Heart cheese at no extra charge. Supplement the meal with the Cauliflower T-Bone entreé or the spaghetti squash, green beans, cauliflower mash, or grilled broccolini sides. Room for dessert? Order Devin’s Vegan Pineapple Ice Cream complete with a sweet pineapple compote and toasted coconut. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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5. Invoke 
Brothers Larry and Lester Gates of Invoke made a much-appreciated effort to include vegan customers when designing the menu of this fast-casual food stand inside  2nd Street Market. Instead of opting for vegan meat, the owners got creative and came up with the Car Dawg—an applewood-smoked carrot topped with pickled onions, lettuce, and romesco nestled in a vegan-friendly bun. Other inventive vegan options include the Krab Cakes comprised of seasoned artichokes and white beans topped with a corn salsa and smoked vegan aioli; the pepper, onion, and potato-based Hash, and the deep Rocket Bowl filled with quinoa, eggplant bacon, roasted zucchini and bell pepper, caramelized onions, and drizzled with a creamy vinaigrette. The brothers don’t skimp on the desserts, either. The chocolate chip cookies and the raw passionfruit cheesecake are worth a spontaneous trip to Dayton—no matter where you are in the country. 

Janyce Denise Glasper is a blogger at AfroVeganChick as well as an artist and writer currently living in Dayton, OH.

Photo credit: The Butter Cafe

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