Stuff Your Face With Vegan Food! Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Welcome to the first post in a travel series I’m calling “Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner” (BLD), where I’ll share a no frills, very to-the-point, guide on where to eat vegan. Hopefully you find this helpful if you find yourself traveling to the featured city or region!
You can love it, hate it, or love to hate it - but Williamsburg has become known as the de facto motherland of hipsterdom. This neighborhood has undergone massive changes over the last several years. My husbands has deep roots there - his family grew up in Williamsburg and he spent his early childhood there before his parents relocated them to New Jersey - coming into Brooklyn on the weekends to stay with his grandmother and other relatives.
I marvel at the contrast between their old triple decker brownstone juxtaposed by all the new construction of modern lofts, condos, and hotels. In a neighborhood that used to be inhabited by families who have been there for generations, it seems as though no one is actually from there anymore. And for better or worse, there’s a lot to be said for the new life that has been breathed into this part of the borough; shops , cafes, and restaurants are opening at a dizzying rate, and small, independent businesses have the opportunity to thrive. Williamsburg has also become a bit of a haven for the vegan foodie scene - with plenty of options to keep your belly and your palette happy for days. Here are a few of my favorites.
Little Choc Apothecary is a sweet, cozy, all vegan and gluten-free creperie sure to satisfy both the sweet and savory toothed friends among you. Choose from their thoughtfully curated menu of creations, or make a crepe of your own devising. I generally opt for sweet crepes - their version of nutella with strawberries and chocolate is divine!- but I’ve tried a couple of their savory options (jackfruit crepe - holla!) and they do not disappoint.
If crepes aren’t your thing, they also have acai bowls, and a daily selection of baked goods- my favorite is the scone-of-the-day served with homemade jam and clotted cream.
Champs has been a favorite of mine since their days on Ainslie Street. Conveniently located down the street from one of my best friends, I made sure to visit whenever I was in town. They have since relocated to an even better space.
In fact, I enjoyed one of the most satisfying meals of my life at Champs. My husband and I landed in New York after twenty-something hours of travel from Indonesia. We were tired. We were smelly. We were hangry. But a big bowl of veggies, tofu scramble, and some tater tots set us right.
This is definitely a place to bring your omnivorous friends who think vegan food is bland and only for health nuts, because healthy, clean vegan, this is not- this is pure comfort food, served in a very nostalgic diner setting.
Enjoy veganized versions - made extra delicious with that delightful Champs flair - of traditionally non-vegan sandwich classics like the cuban, po boy, philly cheese steak, and Italian meatball sub. Want a hot-dog or burgers and fries? Maybe a milk-shake or or egg cream? They’ve got all of that, too. I usually opt for one of their bowls - I’ll go with the Basic Bowl, their lightest and healthiest option, if I’m feeling like I’ll want some dessert afterwards. They’ve usually got some pretty stellar cookies or cakes available, too.
HOT TIP: Champs is cash only!
other solid lunch options
Butcher’s Daughter: if you want some light and healthy options
Ja Ja Ja: this tasty LES spot has a little outpost in the North 3rd St Market food court. Their menu includes some of their most popular tacos, a couple of salad options, and pupusas! Checkout my review of their LES location here.
With the success of the first location in the Lower East Side, Avant Garden, opened their Brooklyn location this past spring. And if you’re looking for a romantic date-night spot, or somewhere to celebrate a special occasion, Avant Garden fits the bill.
The space is intimate and moody; the romantic purple velvet seating contrasts with earthy reclaimed wood walls, all tied together with a hanging planter installation overflowing with greenery above the bar. An open kitchen adds to the atmosphere of this fine dining experience; it happened to be an all-female kitchen staff during my last visit, and I really enjoyed watching them meticulously prepare each plate while I was seated at the bar.
Plates are small and best for sharing. Everything is thoughtfully prepared with interesting combinations of flavors and textures. The menu often changes and utilizes seasonally appropriate ingredients.
In an age where avocado toast is a ubiquitous trend, it’s easy to roll one’s eye at a whole section of the menu dedicated solely to toasts. But, the romesco toast was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.
It goes without saying, this is most certainly not a spot that would be on regular rotation - plates are pretty small, so if you’re hungry the cost all adds up very quickly. But, this is not a meal to be rushed. It’s the kind of meal you linger over and savor with a nice bottle of wine and good company.
Reservations are highly recommended.