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4 Places in Charleston to Send You to Plant-Based Food Heaven

To food lovers, plant-based or otherwise: do your tastebuds a favor and check out these restaurants. 

The Gnome Cafe 

The Gnome Cafe is one of my all-time favorite cafes, vegan or otherwise. Fresh plants and flowers are found on every surface and the natural light shining in truly makes this cafe a treasure. With a beautiful atmosphere, all-day breakfast and lunch, and incredible coffee, you can’t go wrong. This cafe perfects vegan comfort food with a variety of flavors and creative twists. (And yes, everything on the menu is vegan!)

I Recommend:

The Hemp “Sausage” Biscuit

The Southern Grit Bowl

The Mushroom BLT

The Cinnamon Rolls (Served hot and fresh in the mornings and actually to die for.)


Off-Track Ice Cream

Off-Track Ice Cream is less than half a mile from campus and is a hidden gem right off of Saint Philip Street. With both vegan and traditional ice cream, there are options for anyone- and all of them are delicious. They also offer milkshakes, affogato, ice cream sandwiches, brownies, and sundaes (all of which can be made vegan)! The interior is gorgeous and offers plenty of space as well as free wifi, if you’re wanting to mix it up and study in an ice cream shop. 

I Recommend:

The Deconstructed Samoa Vegan Ice Cream

Sea Salt Caramel Vegan Ice Cream 

The Salty Beach Sundae (Honestly the best sundae I’ve ever had). 

House-Made Vegan Brownies 

Basic Kitchen 

During orientation this year, my family stopped in here for lunch randomly and ended up going two days in a row because of how amazing it was. Basic Kitchen offers a variety of fresh, flavorful dishes, many of which are vegan and unapologetically mouthwatering. The space is large and incredibly well-designed, with gorgeous posters and wall decor everywhere you look. With lunch, brunch, and dinner, the options are endless. Creative and bright, the vegan dishes here are a must-have.

My Recommendations

The Cauliflower “Wings” (Served with housemade vegan ranch. Warning: May make you cry tears of actual joy.) 

The Vegan Caesar 

The Basic Bowl

The Nachos

Vegan Banana Pudding 

Playa Bowls 

As a lover of acai bowls (and I mean, who isn’t?), Playa Bowls immediately stood out to me as a top-tier spot for that spontaneous but much needed health fix. The variety in the menu caught my eye as soon as I stepped in the building, with seven different bowl bases, huge lists of smoothies and juices, and basically any combination of fruits you could dream of. The inside is the perfect place for an Insta flex and their bowls are heaven in juice-bar form. 

My Recommendations:

Mermaid Fuel- Juice

The Jetty- Chia Bowl (Fellow lovers of chia pudding- this one’s for you.)

Aloha- Smoothie

Pacific- Green Bowl

Whether you’re a die-hard vegan, interested in plant-based eating, or just looking to try something new, these places exhibit the variety in plant-based eating– all while being cruelty-free and freaking delicious. 

Tree-hugger & coffee-lover. Freshman at College of Charleston (currently Undecided). Love for All, Hatred for None.
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