During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more vegan restaurants have opened than have closed according to data released by HappyCow, an online vegan restaurant resource. The HappyCow platform now hosts 104 more vegan restaurants and reports that while 413 vegan venues have closed since the onset of COVID-19, 517 have opened. In the United States, 88 vegan restaurants have closed, but 99 have opened and England’s figures are equally hopeful with 25 vegan restaurants closing and 46 opening during the time frame. 

HappyCow Principal Ken Spector revealed the findings during a recent interview with Elysabeth Alfano on The Plantbased Business Hour—a vegan business show that launched in March on Jane UnChained News Network. “About a third of the countries, the more vegan-centric countries, have a net loss of vegan restaurants now due to closures versus openings, but two thirds have a greater number of additions than vegan restaurants and stores that have closed,” Spector said. “These were purely vegan restaurants. We’re not even talking yet about vegan options. That is exploding.” 

During the pandemic, vegans have had to say goodbye to a few favorite restaurants, including Minneapolis, MN-based Fig & Farro which served its last meal on May 31. However, a plethora of new vegan restaurants are now open, including Black-owned UnSoul Food in Philadelphia, PA; a fifth location of Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn’s PLNT Burger in Washington, DC; and the second location of popular Atlanta business Slutty Vegan in Jonesboro, GA. 

Additional vegan restaurants are slated to open in the coming months, including BAIA (a two-story Italian eatery with integrated vegan sushi pop-up Woodblock slated to open in San Francisco on August 1; Winter Park Biscuit Company (an Orlando, FL-based comfort food eatery founded by celebrity chef Mary Westfall and her musician husband Neil Wesfall of rock band A Day to Remember); and Souley Vegan (an iconic Black-owned eatery which is expanding to three additional locations in California outside of its longstanding Oakland, CA outpost). 

Photo Credit: Winter Park Biscuit Company/Woodblock/Souley Vegan