Support these African American-owned businesses that offer vegan-friendly places to commune, break bread and celebrate the city's cultural heritage.
Azla is one of the only Ethiopian restaurants outside of LA’s Little Ethiopia district, serving up vegan eats inside Mercado la Paloma (3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles 90007). Look for traditional dishes like gomen, kik alicha, and misir as well as spicy tofu tibs - baked tofu with caramelized onions and pepper medley.
Former teacher Lemel Durrah first launched his start-up catering service through social media, tantalizing viewers with photos of his plant-based spin on traditional comfort foods with menu standards like jackfruit ribs, collard greens, Buffalo Chik’n & Mac and more - then offered delivery within a 10-mile radius. The city has since enjoyed his creations in pop-ups all over and now Durrah operates Compton Vegan in a permitted and professionally equipped kitchen at Colony (11419 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles 90025).
In a video produced by Mercy for Animals, he states the goal was to “have an alternative to the everyday foods available in the inner city,” and was recently featured in Complex Magazine’s “No Beef: Why Hip Hop Went Vegan” video. Check @comptonvegan for what’s next.
Located in Downtown LA, Divine Dips (601 S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles 90014) is known for their generous scoops of artisanal ice cream, made with a blend of organic coconut milk, cashews, nut milks, and other all-natural ingredients. Founder Diane Jacobs is the mastermind behind the shop and the brand available in pints at retail locations throughout the city. Check their Instagram for neighborhood fundraisers and fun meet-and-greets.
Earle’s on Crenshaw
While it's not entirely vegan, Earle’s on Crenshaw (3864 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90008) is an iconic family-owned business that has offered an extensive vegan menu for years, with chili dogs, burgers, smothered fries and desserts guaranteed to make the mouth water.
Comedian/actor Angela Means, first known for her role as Felisha in the 1995 film Friday, now feeds hungry masses jackfruit tacos, cauliflower "wings," Super Soul Bowls, and healthy juice drinks at Jackfruit Cafe. The business started inside King’s Donuts in South LA, then moved into a food truck, and has lately found a home inside the shared space kitchens of Colony (11419 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles 90025) with options for drive through, dine-in, take-out, or catering.
Means donates a portion of her Jackfruit Cafe profits to Love Always Sanctuary in San Fernando.
LaRayia Gaston is the force of nature behind the fresh juices and whole food plant-based meals in her namesake bodega in Westlake (2713 W 6th St., Los Angeles 90057). Her heart extends beyond its walls to her non-profit Lunch On Me, which feeds thousands of vegan meals to homeless people in Venice, Watts and Compton at her once-a-month block parties.
Note: Besties Vegan Paradise (4882 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles 90029) is the only store in California to carry Lunch On Me's Love Without Reason drinks as well as Compton Vegan’s Ranch Dressing.
Misha’s Kind Foods
Certified raw vegan/living foods chef Ian Martin first studied the art of vegan cheese-making at Juliano’s Raw and Matthew Kenney’s MAKE, then launched his line of creamy probiotic tree nut cheeses and schmears. Misha's Kind Foods is now beloved at farmers’ markets across LA, including Brentwood, Mar Vista, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas and Beverly Hills. Misha's non-dairy cheese spreads are available at retail stores like Besties Vegan Paradise, MillCross Coffee Bar & Kitchen (11050 Washington Blvd, Culver City), Larchmont Village Wine (223 N. Larchmont Blvd) and more. Misha's recently earned a kosher certification, as well.
Stuff I Eat
Originally started as a catering business with a mission to provide “access to good quality, healthy food,” Stuff I Eat (114 N Market St, Inglewood 90301) is now a staple of Inglewood, known for its generous brunch platters, organic and gluten-free-friendly lunches, and astounding desserts by the effervescent soon-to-be-cookbook author Chef Babette.
Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies
The brown bags of delectable soft-baked cookies distributed across the country are actually made at Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies, a family-owned and operated bakery in Glendale. Brothers Jeffrey and Robbie Jacobs are often seen repping the business at events like Eat Drink Vegan.
The big food truck with the cartoon cheeseburger logo can be found on street corners all over LA. Friends Kori Vines, Kendall Patterson, Phillip Bennett, and Naeem Outler - all former NCAA athletes - they say their mission at Vurger Guyz is simple: “changing lives one bite at a time.” One bite of their Beyond Meat burgers and tacos will have eaters everywhere looking to get #Vurgerfied. Follow @vurgerguyz for their latest stops.