• Camille Renner

Looking for Vegan and Vegetarian Food? Here's your guide to Gaston's plant-based fare

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As more and more people have become vegan or vegetarian in recent years, the demand for plant-based eateries has become prevalent in our towns—and Gaston County businesses have listened. Restaurants known for their burgers or fried chicken have seamlessly incorporated plant-based substitutions into their menus and plant-based diners are eternally grateful.

Whether you're trying out meatless Mondays for the first time, are a long-time vegan or are looking to try something new, these Gaston County eateries have creative plant-based dishes waiting for you.


Camille Renner, Gaston Outside

6425 Wilkinson Blvd., Belmont

Daily 12 p.m.-9 p.m.

As vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians alike know well, Asian cuisine almost always provides the most diverse options for non-meat eaters. Akahana, a regionally owned Asian bistro with locations in Charlotte and Belmont, offers plant-based eaters many options in their extensive menu, Not exclusively serving dishes from a certain region, Akahana offers meals of many different Asian country origins, including Japanese, Vietnamese and Indian dishes.

What to Order: Curry—Red, yellow, green or massaman curry with sweet coconut milk stewed with white onions, red and green bell peppers, jalapeños, carrots and bamboo shoots, served with rice


Photo Courtesy of Barristers

168 W. Main Ave., Gastonia

Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Located inside Gastonia's historic and charming Esquire Hotel, Barrister's unique menu offers various plant-based starters, salads and sandwiches. For vegetarian guests, seasonal specials using local ingredients pair well with imaginative cocktails.

What to Order: Caprese Sandwich—Sourdough bread, mozzarella cheese, tomato, spring pesto, orange balsamic reduction

Bottle Tree

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

102 Davis St., Belmont

Wednesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

The yellow and blue house in Belmont hosts a wide variety of delicious fare-from ramen to enchiladas and creative hummus creations. The Bottle Tree team never disappoints with the constantly evolving menus. Both the dinner and brunch menus have options for plant-based foodies that pair well with their eclectic cocktail and spirit-free beverage options.

What to Order: Swiss Chard and Mushroom Enchiladas—Red corn tortillas stuffed with swiss chard, wild mushrooms and chihuahua cheese in ancho chili sauce and topped with jicama salsa (Vegetarian)

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza

Photo Courtesy of Brixx

501 Cox Rd., Gastonia

Daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Created locally but now regionally adored, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza is any pizza lover with dietary restriction's dream pizza joint. Their perfectly crisp crust is already vegan and vegan cheese can be substituted to any pizza with no up-charge. Plus, the Brixx team offers gluten-free and cauliflower crust options.

What to Order: Wild Mushroom—Wood-roasted shiitake, Portobello & button mushrooms with mozzarella on an olive oil base topped with arugula and shaved


Photo Courtesy of Cinnaholic

915 S. Point Rd., Ste. F, Belmont

Daily 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

A completely egg, dairy and lactose free dessert shop making its way to Belmont, Cinnaholic is a vegan's dream-especially a vegan that misses warm and gooey cinnamon rolls. Customers can choose between house-crafted cinnamon roll creations or build their own with 20 different icing options and delectable topping choices including brownies, fruit, cookie dough and nuts. Make no mistake though, these cinnamon rolls don't taste plant-based, so your non-vegan friends and family will enjoy them too.

What to Order: Cookie Monster Roll— Cream cheese frosting, cookie dough, chocolate chips and chocolate sauce

Doffer’s Canteen

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

119 Center St., Cramerton

Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Cramerton's eclectic taco, sandwich, wine and beer spot has something for everyone, especially our plant-based friends. The Doffer's team uses potatoes, beans, veggies and impossible meat in place of traditional protein options on their menu.

What to Order: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos— Fried, diced sweet potatoes topped with black beans, pickled red onion, fresh cilantro, lime wedge, and our amazing honey chipotle crema, served on warm tortillas (vegan upon request)

Groovy Beast

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

109 E. Hudson Blvd., Gastonia

Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sunday, Closed

While this cult favorite spot is known for their fresh ground meats, there are delicious sides and breakfast menu items for plant-based eaters. If you are a vegetarian who eats eggs, Groovy Beast's all-day breakfast menu will be your new go-to. Be sure to check out their social media for their ever-changing daily specials.

What to Order: Veggie Medley— scrambled egg whites, spinach, tomato, onion, peppers and mushrooms

Jack Beagles

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

125 S. Main St., Mount Holly

Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.

This regional favorite restaurant started in Charlotte is now a popular breakfast, lunch and dinner destination in Mount Holly. Jack Beagle's, on top of the extensive beer and cocktail menu, brings a plethora of vegan and vegetarian options to the area. For non-meat eaters (who still love cheese,) their mac and cheese menu is legendary in the area.

What to Order: Vegan’s Paradise—Impossible Burger, lettuce, tomato, and pickled onion on Kaiser roll

Lotus Bar & Eatery

Photo Courtesy of USA Restaurants

1941 Hoffman Rd., Ste. 1, Gastonia

Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m.

An upscale, two-story eatery in Gastonia is the perfect spot for a social-distanced date night-the indoor space is massive with plenty of seating for a party of two. If you are vegan and your partner is not, Lotus has a perfect mix of meat and plant-based menu items that pair well with their extensive drink menu.

What to Order: Lotus Vegetarian— Tempeh wrapped with carrots, sweet onions, red pepper and basil in a spring roll wrapper, pan-crisped with coconut Jasmine rice, baby bok choy, sake-butter sauce & a chili-garlic dipping sauce

Mayworth’s Public House

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

115 Center St., Cramerton

Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m-9 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

It's no secret that vegans and vegetarians are also usually nature and animal lovers, making Mayworth's Public House's location across from an entrance to the Carolina Thread Trail a perfect stop to eat before or after a walk on the trail. The charming pub-like restaurant has a great patio to you to enjoy your post-walk eats and drinks on, too.

What to Order: Create Your Own Salad— Choose between iceberg, romaine, spinach or mixed lettuce, and a 7-item combination of any vegetables, fruit, cheese, croutons, dressings and protein offered

Me Vietnamese Kitchen

Photo Courtesy of Me Vietnamese

2524 E. Franklin Blvd., Ste. A, Gastonia

Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

The Vietnamese word for mom is "me," hence this Gastonia restaurant's simple name. Me Viet is dedicated to bringing the people of Gaston County comfort food just like mom used to make-well, if your mom made delicious and classic Vietnamese dishes like bahn mi sandwiches and warm, brothy Pho. Me Viet is especially great for plant-based eaters because almost every dish on their menu can be made vegan, using tofu and veggies.

What to Order: Vegetarian Pho– noodles and broth with vegetables and crispy tofu

Pita Wheel

Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Moss-Moss Videography

1108 E. Main St., Dallas

Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

110 S. York St., Gastonia

Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

The county-wide adored Pita Wheel is not popular just because of their eclectic restaurant or interesting cocktails, but because of the delicious food. Starting as a food truck, the Pita Wheel team didn't have to wow guests with a retro atmosphere or alcoholic drink menus, they became popular just by serving stellar food. Due to the Mediterranean influence on the restaurants cuisine, plant-based eaters can eat falafel at Pita Wheel, a delicious meat alternative.

What to Order: Falafapita— Falafel, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber, tzatziki and garlic chili sauce on Greek pita

Sammy’s Neighborhood Pub

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

25 S. Main St., Belmont

Daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

130 W. Trade St., Dallas

Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-1 1p.m.

Sammy's Downtown Belmont location has been a staple in the community for decades and they've recently opened a second location in Downtown Dallas. Although the menu hosts classic pub-fare (it is an Irish pub after all,) Sammy's caters to their plant-based customers while still serving comfort food. In fact, any of their "famous" burgers can be substituted with a Beyond-Meat patty.

What to Order: Fried Pickles— Pickle spears breaded and deep fried, served with ranch dressing

Samvay’s Wings & Subs

Camille Renner, Gaston Outside

303 N. Main St., Mount Holly

Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 12 p.m.-11 p.m.

Connected to Lee's Quick Stop, Samvay's is a classic convenience store deli with a twist-traditional Thai food on the menu. Inside the retro-feeling convenience store, patrons can grab snacks and drinks or play timeless arcade games. The price is right on the Thai menu items too, a generous portion of noodles or rice is served in every order.

What to Order: Pad Thai— Stir-fried rice noodles with cilantro, onion, bean sprouts, tofu and special sauce

Sprouts Café

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

1012 S. New Hope Rd., Gastonia

Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

A bakery, wine shop and restaurant, Sprout's Cafe has something for everyone-especially vegans and vegetarians. The Sprout's team prides themselves on serving creative plant-based food and are always changing up their menu with daily specials to try out new dishes. While many of their menu items are already vegan, some that are not can easily be made without animal by-products by adding vegan-cheese or vegan-mayo. As an added bonus, Sprout's has their own organic garden and often hosts fun events in and around the restaurant. Their website is frequently updated with event dates.

What to Order: Mock Chicken Salad— Organic tofu salad, greens and tomato on a toasted seeded wheat bread

The String Bean

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

106 N. Main St., Belmont

Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

A expertly crafted menu and wine list, The String Bean team is committed to bringing high-class eating to Gaston County- and have been succeeding in just this since 2008. While a big focus of the market is on meats and cheeses, they haven't forgotten about their plant-based customers, offering multiple lunch and dinner options for vegans and vegetarians. All the food and drinks at this Downtown Belmont eatery taste better while enjoyed by their patio fire tables, too.

What to Order: Black Bean Burger— Black bean patty, avocado slices, tomato, sour cream and red onions on a brioche bun

Viva Chicken

Camille Renner, Gaston Outside

2205 E. Franklin Blvd., #100, Gastonia

Daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

While Viva Chicken is a regional chain, the dedication to quality, comfortable restaurant and friendly staff makes this Peruvian restaurant feel like a local stop. Known for their fresh rotisserie chicken, this might not be a plant-based diner's first thought when choosing a spot for lunch or dinner, but they have multiple salad and wrap options for their vegan and vegetarian friends. Plus, Viva Chicken creates fruity and refreshing in-house juices, such as the herbal limeade made with lime, basil, rosemary and mint.

What to Order: Quinoa Stuffed Avocado—vOrganic quinoa, red peppers, rocoto mayonnaise and balsamic vinaigrette in an avocado

Viva Tequis

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

238 W. Main Ave., Gastonia

Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Boasting a long-time presence in Downtown Gastonia and cult-like following, Viva Tequis serves authentic Mexican street-food and Americanized burritos along a great margarita and beer menu. With whatever-plant based taco or burrito you go with, we suggest adding a made-to-order guacamole to enjoy with your meal.

What to Order: Tacos Fritos de Papa— Fried tacos with potato, cabbage, cojita cheese and salsa