By: Ivy K. Arnold
Without a doubt, Memphis is known to have the best food in the world. Unlike other debatable cities, you can never go wrong with our cultural melting pot of top tier barbecue, soul food that guarantees to bless yo’ soul, flavorful wings that’ll make ya’ sang, seafood that makes you say whew, and a plethora of other cultural dishes that have made a name for itself here. With so many food options, it’s only right that the most beautiful land in the world provides that same southern hospitality for all plant-based cousins here. As our black owned vegan spots are gradually expanding in the city, they sure are dominating the business when it comes to satisfying the taste buds of our dedicated vegan cousins and those that aren’t.
Let’s take a ride down Elvis Presley Blvd., where we’ll find the Speed Vegan Food Truck at the Shelby Drive intersection waiting to serve you some food that’ll put a pep in your steps. Owners Phu’Cha (pronounced “future”) and Powwah (pronounced “power”), surely have done their due diligence with the menu they’ve concocted that’ll definitely have you returning back for more. Try out the Speed Breaker buffalo chicken sandwich with some Afrikan Kool-Aid Powwah Juice, a side of Memphis Mac & CheeZ and don’t forget the fries that’ll change your life! You can visit them during these COVID times on Wednesdays through Sundays from 4:30pm to 7:30pm, but to stay updated on their menu and times, visit their social media accounts @SpeedVegan on Facebook and Instagram.
Not far up Shelby Drive at the Boeingshire intersection, we have Trap Fusion, which prides themselves in providing “an ultimate fusion of southern cuisine and culinary genius. It’s an experience that can only be found in the kitchens and imaginations of native Memphians” (Trap Fusion). Owners Monique Williams and Jason Gardner have provided a space where not only vegans may eat, but those that are strictly carnivores can too. Try out the Bar-B-Q Jack Sandwich with vegan coleslaw or even the Skinny Pimp vegan hotdog loaded with baked beans and slaw. Their menu will definitely have the whole family, no matter their dietary preferences, saying “dang this fye! Where you get this from?” You can pick up orders between 11am to 7pm every Tuesday through Saturday, and great news they’re expanding to Cordova soon.
Back on Elvis Presley Blvd, we have ElectroLyfe Juice Bar where you can satisfy your taste for a good cold-pressed juice, smoothie, salad, wrap, and even electro-shots. Owner Quavisa Henderson has outdone herself with the veggie wrap, Sunrise Electro-Juice, and Tropical Sensation Electro-Smoothie. For an extra boost to your smoothie, make sure you add on plant-based protein and chia seeds! You can visit daily, noon to 4pm on Sundays and 9am to 5pm Monday through Saturday.
Up the street near the Winchester intersection is Smooth Living Health Food Restaurant, owned by Clemente Butts. They’re open Monday through Friday from 11am till 9pm, and on Saturdays till 7pm. Their lineup includes veggie hoodrolls, black bean burgers, veggie nachos, and so much more! Not only can you grab food here, but also some soul-touching smoothies to quench your thirst, and be put onto a gallon of the best chlorophyll on any land.
If you’re ever near the University of Memphis, make sure to slide by BurgerIM on Highland, as this particular location is black-owned by Rhonda Morgan and is open daily from 11am to 8pm. Here you’ll find a falafel burger that’ll blow your mind! With a 1/4lb falafel patty with tahini, baby greens, tomato, pickles, and onions. Now if you really want to take it to the next level, make sure you add on ginger vinaigrette, avocado, pineapple, and red cabbage. Talk about beyond sensational!
In need of a sweet fix? Hit downtown to grab a pint of vegan gelato from Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co., owned by Hugh Balthrop. Try out the strawberry, blueberry, or mango-pineapple sorbets. While you can find the pints at several locations around the city, here’s some good news to look forward to! Sweet Magnolia is coming to the Edge District sometime in June. What a great way to beat that Memphis heat!
Got some other suggestions? Let us know what your favorite vegan foods are in the city!