Food

Why a Vegan Restaurant Week in Baltimore? compiled by Phinesse Demps

Baltimore is an exciting and vibrant city full of unique neighborhoods and incredible diversity – and we in the restaurant business know first hand that nothing brings people together quite like good food. The mission of Baltimore Vegan Restaurant Week is to increase the awareness, benefits and accessibility of a plant-based diet through a fun, innovative and community-based experience across multiple neighborhoods.

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Baltimore is a booming food town, and we want to entice people from Baltimore and beyond to dine all over our fine city by curating a full week of Vegan offerings from places big and small. Unlike a traditional restaurant week that provides pre-fix menu, we are encouraging establishments participating in Vegan Restaurant Week to create a selection of items to be offered throughout the week.

A Vegan Restaurant Week would not only activate existing establishments, but also challenge traditionally non-vegan restaurants to expand their menus and tap into an entirely new revenue stream. It would show a new audience how easy and exciting incorporating a plant-based diet can be, bringing to light the benefits of vegan and vegetarian food – not only on a health scale, but also global.

Impact & Benefits:

Baltimore Vegan Restaurant Week was created in the spirit of unity and new opportunity. We know the positive impact this will have on participating restaurants because we have seen the revenue increase first-hand – so we know without a doubt that Baltimore Vegan Restaurant Week will be good for business. More importantly, is how good this will be for the communities that feel limited in their dining options. New opportunities for an additional revenue stream through targeting an expanded customer base. Perception of Baltimore City being vegan/vegetarian-friendly towards tourists and out-of-town guests.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 300,000 African-Americans die from preventable diet-related illnesses every year. High-blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity are disproportionately affecting African-Americans communities. By working together, the Land of Kush and Golden West Cafe seek to raise awareness and celebrate the Black Vegan and Vegetarian community here in Baltimore, and debunk the stereotype that veganism and plant-based diets are primarily white practices. This is an opportunity for all restaurants in Baltimore to open their doors and welcome everyone to their table.

Who’s behind Maryland Vegan Eats?

The Land of Kush, Baltimore’s Vegan Soul Bistro in Mount Vernon already offers a 100% vegan menu and has proven to be successful in their six years of existence. One of the co-owners, Naijha Wright-Brown, co-founded and organizes Baltimore’s largest vegan festival, Vegan Soul Fest, running three years straight and growing exponentially. Naijha is also one of the founders of the Black Vegetarian Society of Maryland, a new non-profit whose mission is to educate and promote the advancement of people in economically challenged and inspired communities to eat healthy, and to barter a relationship for holistic exchange which stimulates interaction for urban regeneration.

Golden West Cafe is a beloved Baltimore culinary institution, serving Americana cuisine and Southwest comfort food, rooted in traditional New Mexican specialties. After opening more than a decade ago in a tiny space on “The Avenue” in Hampden, Golden West relocated to its current, larger space in 2003, in order to accommodate the constantly expanding crowd of loyal regulars and curious new customers. Golden West Cafe has been running their own Vegan Week twice annually for nearly four years and each time they see a significant increase in sales (approx 10-12% on average). They consistently focus on creating a space where all can feel welcome and find comforting dishes.

Business / Restaurant Owner: Be a participant in the inaugural Baltimore Vegan Restaurant Week! The opt-in fee is $99, which will help Maryland Vegan Eats cover the costs of the marketing, promotion and design. You can choose to upgrade to $249, which will guarantee your restaurant to be featured during the event . We have partnered with Visit Baltimore and Yelp Baltimore, who will provide a huge marketing push for Baltimore Vegan Restaurant Week. Email info@mdveganeats.com for more information or visit www.mdveganeats.com!

Fiscal Sponsor: We are actively seeking more fiscal sponsors to assist Maryland Vegan Eats in covering our marketing, promotion and design costs for this event. We have partnered with a new local nonprofit, the Black Vegetarian Society of Maryland (81-1874876), to facilitate tax-deductible donations. For more information, please contact Maryland Vegan Eats’ Special Event Coordinator Shannon Light at info@mdveganeats.com.

 

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