The first Black-owned vegan restaurant is now open in Harrisburg, PA, according to VegNews.
Co-owned by Laquana Barber and Stefan Hawkins, House of Vegans was inspired by three main things: the lack of food options in their area, Barber’s health issues, and Hawkins inside look at the meat industry during his time as a McDonald’s employee.
“American culture views that every meal has to have meat with it when it does not,” Hawkins told The Burg News. “Since I’ve been vegan, it’s been the best part of my life.”
Dubbed the Home of Thee Slaps, the vegan eatery opened in July 2020 as some other small Black-owned businesses struggled financially due to the pandemic. The menu features mostly Black American cuisine, including soul food, burgers, macaroni and cheese made with jackfruit, mushrooms, among other healthy fixings.
“I always had the mindset that it’s vegan food, and it would be bland,” said Yodit Kidane, a friend of Barber’s and possibly House of Vegans’ biggest fan. “[Barber] always spoke of her vegan lifestyle, but I was always like, eh, that’s not for me. I finally tried it, and I was hooked.”
While the food is great, the owners also want to educate the Black community on vegan and healthy lifestyles.
“Vegan isn’t a big word in the African American community,” Hawkins said. “We want to educate the culture and the people. We can be vegan and still eat good and hearty.”