Austin, TX-based vegan deli and wine shop Rebel Cheese was recently awarded the title “Best New Restaurant” from local media outlet CultureMap’s Tastemaker Awards. This is the first time a vegan restaurant has won the award in Austin. The shop was selected as the winner by Austin residents, who voted from a shortlist of 16 new eateries, ranging from taco trucks to high-end restaurants, that opened in the city in 2019 and early 2020. 

Founded in October 2019 by husband-and-wife team Kirsten Maitland and Fred Zwar, the shop offers artisan vegan cheese made using techniques similar to dairy cheese production, along with craft sandwiches, soups, salads, wine, beer, and grocery items. The shop currently offers curbside takeout and delivery.

“We started Rebel Cheese to have an impact on animal welfare, the environment, and our health,” Maitland told VegNews. “Winning the CultureMap award, and being the only vegan establishment against omnivorous restaurants, is a big win for our mission. We hope this will convince more people that vegan cheese and meat alternatives can taste just as good as (if not better than) animal-based products, and in turn encourage more newcomers to the wonderful world of veganism.”

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