Lettuce Turnip the Beet: Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants That Rock

Every October 1st, we celebrate World Vegetarian Day and the possibilities of a delicious, meatless lifestyle. If you've been thinking of going vegetarian or even cutting back on animal products, October is Vegetarian Awareness Month and the perfect time to get healthy and change your eating. Go a step further and observe National Kale Day the first Wednesday in October by experimenting with new dishes featuring the nutritionally dense powerhouse. Find out how satisfying vegetarian fare can be at these local vegan and vegetarian restaurants of the Carolinas. 


Living Kitchen, formerly known as Luna's Living Kitchen, has been a healthy favorite for years in Charlotte, North Carolina. Loyal fans visit again and again for Living Kitchen's organic, plant-based, and mostly raw cuisine prepared with local ingredients from family-owned farms. Make sure to try one of their fresh cold-pressed juices and a slice of raw vegan cheesecake for dessert. This restaurant's popularity has led to a new location in Raleigh, North Carolina, so make sure to enjoy a meal there as well. 


Local vegetarians and meat-eaters alike rave about the fare at Raleigh, North Carolina's Fiction Kitchen. This self-proclaimed food revolution operates in a historic train depot and serves fresh, creative, locally sourced vegetarian cuisine for a fun, satisfying, and affordable meat-free meal. Try one of their Southern comfort dishes like crispy fried "chicken" and waffles and Eastern NC-style BBQ pulled "pork." 


Serving a vegetarian menu with a Middle Eastern flair, the Sage Cafe in Chapel Hill, North Carolina uses organic and local ingredients whenever seasonably available. With a clientele of both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, the Sage Cafe has created an environment of comfort, warmth, and beauty with dishes to satisfy every palate. Try their homemade soups, hummus, salads, and wraps as well as a full dinner menu. 


In a town full of top-notch eateries like Asheville, North Carolina, vegetarian restaurant Plant has still been able to rise to the top. Known as a paradise for vegan diners, Plant prides itself on creating food that will satisfy even the most loyal meat eater. With a bevy of international vegan dishes, you can sample a variety of flavors from fried plantains to seitan chile con queso and Korean tofu bibimbap. 


The Black Bean Company, with locations in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina, boasts premium organic, all-natural energy food and specializes in vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free fare. This fun, edgy, and high-energy restaurant offers the elusive farm-fresh fast service concept with dine-in, online ordering, and even a delivery service. Owner and founder Ellis Grossman grows much of the restaurant's food in his garden so patrons can enjoy their delicious wraps, smoothies, superfood bowls and more. 


Head to the Lamb's Bread Vegan Cafe in Columbia, South Carolina for unique vegetarian cuisine you won't find anywhere else. Lamb's Bread serves Caribbean-influenced soul food in colorful African art surroundings. Menu items include a tempeh Reuben sandwich, curried potatoes, teriyaki mushrooms, and more. 


Prepare for your vegan adventure with a visit to your local AAA Car Care location for all of your car maintenance needs, including battery checks. Contact your local AAA travel agent to help make your vegetarian cuisine tour planning easy with hotel discounts, reservations, TripTiks — AAA's exclusive travel planner — and AAA's Mobile App. You can easily manage your AAA membership online, or call 1-866-593-8626 while on the road.

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