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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


NuVegan Café Revolutionizes Vegan Cuisine in Washington

NuVegan Café offers Southern-style comfort vegan food. Photo: Deliciously Kind.

In Jan. 2015, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian had lunch at a small vegan cafe in Washington, D.C. West called the restaurant’s food a “work of art.”

NuVegan Café is a family-owned business that serves vegan soul food. Located on Georgia Avenue, the healthy comfort food joint is popular among vegan and non-vegan residents.

The cafe not only “nurture[s], but [satisfies] the soul,” according to its website. “Eating natural” is one of its key values, which means keeping food delicious and reminiscent of Southern-style comfort food while remaining healthy and vegan. Customers can help themselves to the comfort food through a cafeteria-style serving line.

While some non-vegans look towards animal-free food with skepticism — not trusting plant-based meat or despising quinoa — NuVegan’s comfort soul food approach is uncommon for vegan restaurants and can spark a new interest in meat-eaters.

“Our menu has definitely been known to change even the most doubtful minds,” Vernon Williams, founder and CEO of NuVegan Café, said in response to a customer’s online praise.

Though the term “soul food” became popular in the 1960s around the time of the Black Power Movement, the style and techniques used in the cuisine originated in the South decades earlier. 

According to American author Amiri Baraka, soul food has developed into “part of the Black American identity.” With West African and European roots, many of the cuisine’s prominent characteristics arose during slavery in the United States. The practices of frying food and breading meats with cornmeal became common.

In 2013, Williams wanted his community to be able to access tastier vegan alternatives. As stated on the website, NuVegan’s goal is to “[redefine] the perception of vegan cuisine” with traditional comfort food.

Now with four locations in Washington, Maryland and Virginia, NuVegan Café keeps countless satisfied customers coming back. West is among these customers: NuVegan catered for the rapper at two of his Washington tour stops.

The menu includes soul food classics, even ones that are often made with meat that have been turned vegan — like the fried “Chick’n Drummies,” with a wooden dowel in place of the bone. Other traditional comfort food sides like macaroni and cheese are made with tofu and soy alternatives.

Freshman Jordan Mathewson was “surprised by how close to real chicken it tastes.” Being a non-vegan, Mathewson appreciated the change of scenery. “NuVegan is unique because their food is healthy but also tastes good! I hope to go back sometime soon.”

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Erica Lu '24
Erica Lu '24, Editor-in-Chief
Erica Lu is currently Editor-in-Chief of Horizon. She served as a Features Editor in the 2022-2023 school year. Prior to that, she worked as a Staff Writer for the newspaper.
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