2014 was a sweet year for Connecticut vegans. From new restaurants to veg-friendly menus to amazing new products, there’s even more deliciousness throughout the state for everyone to enjoy. And, because superlatives > top 10 lists, here are our Best Ofs for 2014:
Best Omni Restaurant With Mad Vegan Love
This is a tough one – Connecticut restaurants are definitely catching on and creating great options for vegan diners, across the board. But we have to give props to Forbidden City Asian Bistro, who this year rolled out a full vegetarian/vegan menu with some seriously fantastic dishes.
Most Incredible New Stuff That Makes Us Drool
We’re convinced, nothing can stop Divine Treasures, LLC from taking over the world. This little 100% artisan chocolatier has totally upped the veg game by introducing a line of handmade vegan “cheeses,” calzones and veggie-packed pizzas. DT also began hosting an occasional multi-course gourmet vegan dinner event that always sells out. Bravo!
Runner up: Chipotle, for it’s Sofritos tofu; Field Roast Chao cheese slices; Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies.
Best Veg Bakery
With its recent expansion in offering wayy more vegan options this year, the award for Best Veg Bakery goes to Dee’s One Smart Cookie! Cupcakes, donuts, breads, desserts and more are now available egg free/vegan in this already gluten- and (almost entirely) dairy-free bakery. We especially love that vegan pizzas are now available on Wednesdays and Fridays, due to high demand.
Newest Cool Kid on the Block
Huge welcome to The Sweet Beet, the newest kid on the all-vegan restaurant block! This under-the-radar spot offers deliciously vegan and GF meals to-go, bakery goods, soups, and more. We hope you choose to be Donnie Wahlberg (swoon).
The We ❤ Food Trucks Award
With only two all-veg food trucks in the state (to our knowledge), this one had to be a tie. And rightfully so, as we just adore both the Amor Food Truck and G-Monkey Mobile for hitting the road and spreading the veg love throughout the state at farmers’ markets and events. Keep it up!
Most Cheer-Worthy Conversion Award
We’re so proud of long-time Connecticut vegetarian spot ION Restaurant for taking the plunge and going 100% vegan this year!! Their new, beautifully-swanky (but comfy/casual) location and updated, modern menu only add to the exciting changes at one of our favorite restaurants. Same great sweet potato fries, tho. Looking forward to great things in 2015. GO TEAM.
This year, we lost the incredible Six Main Restaurant in Chester, whose inventive, delicious meals were only complimented by a beautiful locale and wonderful service (and a great bar). We’re so sad to say goodbye to this restaurant, along with brilliant chef Rachel Carr, and can only hope that she might give CT a go again in the future. Lesson, vegans: please go support the veg restaurants! They need us, and we need them.
Runner up: So Good Vegan Cafe, Ridgefield. (Dang)
Sweetest Veg Celeb Endorsement
Tie: Senator Cory Booker/Bey and Jay
Ok, the king and queen of hip-hop only went veg for a short time… but we truly believe that they helped to open up the minds of many who would never have considered veganism, and for that we are grateful. Cory Booker, on the other hand – well, we have high hopes for him! Although only pledging to go vegan through the end of 2014, he has been very public with the experience, giving inspiring interviews about his (ethical) reasons for the choice, twitter bombing us with questions and making us jealous of his many trips to DC’s veg restaurants. We think his lifelong veganism has a high likelihood. Plus he’s a darn good guy with a winning smile, and I see a future between us. “Mrs. Senator Vegan CT Booker” has a nice ring to it.
Runner up: Jennifer Lopez.
Swankiest Swankness Award
Though 2014 was not it’s first year, we have to give a shout out to the Max Restaurant Group for hosting yet another Vegan Table edition of it’s popular Chef-to-Farm dinners. The inspiration of Max Oyster Bar Chef Scott Miller, this event is a fancy but incredibly fun opportunity to eat a gourmet, multi-course vegan meal, cooked on-site with local, just-picked ingredients. Plus, it’s just exciting to see veganism represented at by an omni restaurant group at such a public level. Now if only we can get some more vegan options in those restaurants!
Under-the-Radar Amazingness Award
Go to Heirloom Food Co. Seriously, go. This mostly-veg spot is really fantastic, and the Quiet Corner is just hogging the good stuff here. Danielson may be a trek for some of us, but its worth it. Make a day of it, and plan to stop at Heirloom for lunch. Order a bunch of things (including the beet burger, delish), relax in the cute dining area, and then take some baked goods to go, because once you’ll leave, you’ll wish you had more. Trust us.
Vegan State Ambassadors Award
G-Zen in Branford has been receiving some serious nationwide buzz all year – including top awards in Travel & Leisure Magazine, Shape Magazine, Huffington Post – and well-deserved. With a consistently evolving menu of delicious organic, farm-to-table dishes, huge social media presence, positive vibes and a seriously photographic couple of vegan chefs at the helm, G-Zen is putting CT on the vegan map, and that can only mean great things for all!
Awesomest Supporters Award
Well, that goes to you. Come on, you knew it was coming. Connecticut vegans (and vegetarians, and the veg-curious too) rock, and I’m so thankful for your support, tips, and ideas. And of course, so are the animals. Keep on rockin, CT.
That’s it! Here’s to a very veg-tastic 2015, all. Thanks for being along for the ride.