This article appears as part of Brokelyn’s “Year in Review” series, which will continue throughout the week.
Here’s a joke for you! Why did the meat eater cross the road? Because they saw a vegan minding their own business on the other side and were FURIOUS. Bam! Roasted like a squash! Sam and I have published an all-time high #vegancontent on Brokelyn this year and have dealt with the occasional snide anti-vegan comment, because the personal decisions about what you eat definitely are anyone else’s business.
But dumb jokes aside, after many years of New York’s culinary scene fetishizing putting meat on every part of the plate (and charging a lot for it, too), vegan food is finally on the come-up. And it’s come a long way from the elder years of granola-peddling hippies and soy-based chicken substitutes — vegan food went punk, high class and down-home all in one year. And since we’re a budget-minded blog, we like to gently remind you the cost your dietary decisions have on the planet. Here’s the best of Brooklyn’s vegan food this year:
Eating pancakes until you puke
We kicked off our first-ever Facebook Live video by broadcasting from the corner booth at all-vegan diner Champs in Bushwick during an all-you-can-eat pancake event. Sam and I tried to see how many pancakes we could eat in one sitting, while answering your questions about vegan food in NYC (Final pancake count: 1 fewer than the number it takes to vomit). Check out the video, and our answers to your questions, here!
VEGAN PIZZA’S TIME TO SHINE
In the best vegan news of the year/decade for those of us who miss the dirty comfort of our corner slice joints, Brooklyn in June became home to Screamer’s, the city’s first all-vegan slice joint. The spot is a collabo between Champs and Philly’s Blackbird Pizzeria.
It’s managed to break our late-night drunk food loyalty to Vinnie’s (though we still love the punny specials guys!). Screamer’s accomplishes what I thought was impossible: recreating the unhealthy greasiness of a slice joint while keeping all their food 100 percent animal-free.
The best vegan sandwiches in Brooklyn
We have no beef with these deals! Nine sandwiches, all $9 or less, no bones about it. Read the full list here — no matter what your food preferences are, we don’t recommend reading it on an empty stomach.
The best vegan ice cream in Brooklyn
Over the summer, we collected some brave volunteers to compete in the first-ever Brokelyn ice cream bracket to determine the best frozen treat in all the borough. These heroic souls also did a separate bracket of the best vegan ice cream in Brooklyn, which you can now find at most of the top shops. Get the scoop on the winner here!
Where vegans and carnivores can break bread together
If you’ve got a mixed diet crowd (and friends who think they MUST EAT MEAT for every meal), we’ve got you covered. Katy did a roundup of restaurants that are perfect for both vegans and omnivores, including romantic pizza spots, crowd-pleasing Caribbean food and innovative Ethiopian. Give it a read here.
Oh my darling Clementine!
Beloved Bed-Stuy vegan bakery Clementine rode the wave of vegan love this year into a major expansion around the corner. The once-tiny shop now has a huge new space, an expanded menu and just started selling beer and wine (and keeping later hours!). You’ll find one of our favorite vegan sandwiches from the list above there too. Check out Kate Mooney’s interview with the owner from July here.
Brooklyn vegans grow up
While the renaissance of plant-based food has brought plenty of culinarily adventurous, super trendy restaurants to the city (including By Chloe, Dirt Candy, Superiority Burger, Avant Garden and Mother of Pearl), Manhattan has been hogging all of the action. That is until September, when famed author and chef Isa Moskowitz opened Modern Love, Brooklyn’s first truly fancy and trendy all-vegan eatery. We love excuses to never leave Brooklyn, so read Sam’s interview with her here.
The vegan restaurant from your jokes became real
Well, it finally happened: The bike-themed vegan craft cocktail bar in Williamsburg you made jokes about for 10 years finally came to life. But Bar Velo, which opened in September, fills a need cocktail bars that also have decent vegan snacks. Read our interview with the co-owner here and you’ll be biking over in your skinny jeans real soon.
And finally, though we didn’t write stories about them: Brooklyn also got Riverdel, our very own vegan cheese shop (also home to one of our favorite sandwiches from above); and a Monk’s Meats announced it’s opening a vegan butcher in Bed-Stuy in the spring.
It’s a great year to be an asshole foodie, no matter what your dietary preference!