A Vegan Guide to Orchard Street

A sandwich at Orchard Grocer. Photo by the author.

Soft-serve. Doughnuts. Breakfast sandwiches: Vegans can rejoice at the plethora of options, both sweet and savory, available to them on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side, the unofficial hot spot and haven for those of us who adhere to a plant-based lifestyle. Here are four fully vegan spots to hit up along Orchard, and a couple off. 

Orchard Grocer/Moo Shoes
78 Orchard St.
Perhaps the most vegan spot on Orchard, or even in the Lower East Side altogether, is Orchard Grocer. A famed vegan haven, deli and one-stop vegan shop, where the vegan and vegan-curious can pick up their choice of artisanal cheeses, challah, marinated jackfruit, sauces, sweets and spices to stock up on. Their deli, however, is not to be missed. Orchard Grocer’s sandwiches pay homage to the city’s classics, like The Edith, a carrot lox and cream cheese bagel sandwich and have mouthwatering daily specials. However, my favorites remain The Bowery, a breakfast sandwich with tofu egg, tempeh bacon and provolone cheese, and The Monty, an Italian-style hero loaded with veggies. Or simply stop in for soft serve, they rotate their flavors pretty regularly and currently have a peanut butter flavor in stock. 

They get extra vegan points for sharing a wall with their sister shoe shop, Mooshoe, which has a host of cruelty-free footwear and accessories.

Erin Mckenna’s Bakery
248 Broome St.
Erin Mckenna’s Bakery is like stepping into a time-warp with their sweet ’50s-inspired decor, but has a modern approach to their ingredients by ditching animal products, gluten and conventional sugar. Even then, the sugar they use is from natural sources like agave, and as website reads, they use their sweeteners “sparingly.” Hot tip: come early to get your choice of the full spread of cookies, muffins, cupcakes, cakes and doughnuts; choices are slim later in the day. Another hot tip: keep tabs on their seasonal offerings, the strawberry glazed heart-shaped doughnuts with raspberry filling they dished out for Valentine’s Day of 2018, were exquisite.  

Bive
95 Orchard St.
This ice cream shop is the latest installment of vegan offerings on Orchard Street. Their offerings are plant-based, gluten-free, low sugar and are made with whole food ingredients. Bive, which stands for balance and vitality, dub their product as, “ice cream with a purpose.” One of their seasonal frozen treats is Sexy Butter, a plant-derived dessert with maca, made with the intention to improve hormonal balance and sexual health. Yum. 

Rawsome Treats
158 Orchard St.
Up a few blocks, across Delancey Street, is a small raw and vegan dessert joint run by Muay Thai martial artist-turned-pastry chef Watt Sriboonruang. Sriboonruang went raw vegan while training for Muay Thai fights in 2012, and felt so inspired by the results, she decided to pour this new-found passion into raw “baking” in 2013. Order a pie or cake by phone or in-store, or indulge in her smaller treats and build a plate of tasters to get the full bite. 

Off-Orchard Street
Other strictly veg options within a quick three-block radius from Orchard include, Jajaja on East Broadway, a vegan and plant-based Mexican restaurant with delicious palm carnita tacos made from heart of palm. There’s also, Dirt Candy on Allen and Broome, a vegetarian restaurant with vegan options that has a playful take on vegetables. 

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