Steakhouses and burgers are sure bets on the Las Vegas Strip, but the city’s second Veganuary Las Vegas takes over in January during the month-long focus on all things vegan.
Vegas resident Diana Edelman, a longtime vegetarian who adopted a vegan lifestyle a couple years ago, launched the campaign to spread the gospel of animal-free eating in the city. It runs through Jan. 31.
Sponsored by Edelman’s website, vegansbaby.com, the event has drawn more than 30 restaurants to offer plant-based specials. It’s part of a national Veganuary campaign that Edelman hopes will last beyond January.
Border Grill and Hussong’s Cantina, both at Mandalay Bay, Stack at Mirage, Beauty and Essex and China Poblano, both at the Cosmopolitan resort, and downtown pizza specialists Good Pie and Evel Pie are among the notable Vegas restaurants participating.
You can view an up-to-date list of venues and their vegan dishes at vegansbaby.com.
Edelman said more restaurants are asking to join each week. “When I launched vegansbaby.com in 2016, there were only four or five vegan restaurants in the whole city,” she said. “Now there are more than 20. Chefs are catching on that this isn’t a fad.”
Vegan specials range from a $14 Spanish root vegetable tamale and $26 cauliflower-stuffed chile relleno at Border Grill to a $28 vegan chicken piccata (using Gardein brand meatless chicken) at Stack and a $45 eight-course tasting menu at China Poblano.
Edelman said the number of high-profile Vegas restaurants offering vegan options year-round has more than doubled in the last year.
The omakase tasting menu at Nobu at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the tasting menu at Sage at Aria and the egg-free omelets at Terrace Point Cafe at Wynn, made with the egg substitute Just Egg, are among her favorites.
Griffin Schaffer, general manager of Stack steakhouse, said adding a vegan menu last year also made good business sense.
“There are a million steakhouses across the country, but not a lot of them offer vegan options,” Schaffer said. We added a vegan menu to appeal to the broadest range of customers.”
“I’m not vegan, but I like the challenge of cooking vegan,” said Stack’s executive chef, Jessica Perlstein. “I don’t want to just send out side dishes. I want customers to leave happy and full.”
Ivo Angelov, the general manager of big-deal French restaurant Le Cirque at Bellagio resort, said guests often order the vegan version of Le Cirque’s $115 five-course vegetarian menu, which includes ratatouille, a salad of baby artichokes and asparagus with warm truffle vinaigrette.
“People are looking for healthy options, but they also want beautiful food, beautiful plating and the indulgent ingredients like truffles and wild mushrooms. Who does that better than the French?”
For those who favor pizza over pizzazz, Edelman said the city’s vegan pizza scene is also worth a spin. A few spots remain on Edelman’s $33 four-stop tour of downtown’s best gluten-free vegan pizzas on Jan. 20.
A wave of new meltable cheeses and gluten-free crusts have made vegan pizzas more appealing to non-vegans too. Last week, nationally recognized pizzaiolo John Arena added vegan pizzas to the menus at his four Las Vegas Metro Pizza locations.
“The goal of all this is to get people to try good vegan food and like it,” said Edelman. “You can live a vegan lifestyle without it being a hassle, but It’s one step at a time.”