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Miami is no longer a terrible place to be a vegan

By Becky Randel| Originally appeared on The New Tropic

Until recently, if you were a vegan or vegetarian in Miami, you were basically SOL, especially when it came to fine dining.  In a town where pork is not considered the “other” white meat, and even rice and beans usually contain meat products, scoring food without animal ingredients was a serious long shot.

But in the past few years, healthy living and animal-free offerings have surged.  When JugoFresh, the organic, cold-pressed juice company, became an immediate sensation in 2012, business owners realized there was, in fact, an audience of California-style, healthy Miami eaters.

From there, vegan and vegetarian cafes and take-out spots quickly “sprouted” around town.  Choices Café, the vegan hot spot with offerings like tofu scramble and chickpea tuna, quickly grew from one location to three.

Carrot Express in South Beach, which serves mostly vegetarian sandwiches and salads, is a mainstay for the SoBe fitness and lunch crowd.  Additional spots like Eden in Eden (vegetarian French cuisine), Manna Life Food (specializing in superfoods and “Life Bowls”) and Coral Gables’ Veganaroma were hits as soon as they opened. Full Bloom, a waterfront, vegan restaurant in Miami Beach’s Belle Isle area, opened in 2015 and now has a serious cult following.

When well-known chef and Michelle Bernstein protégé Nicole Votano left hotspot Fooqs to open the vegan fast casual DIRT in 2015 (she has since left), many were perplexed. But the immediate popularity of the eatery (David Beckham is a huge fan), showed the power behind this movement.