One local woman will set off on a brave and adventurous journey across the U.S. with a mission – to eat at every vegan restaurant in America!
Photo by Jennifer Simmons
Kristin Lajeunesse, native of Hoosick Falls, will set off on August 27th to traverse all 50 states (yep – that means Hawaii and Alaska, too!) with the aim of dining, reviewing and interviewing every vegan establishment she can find.
And how many are out there for her to explore? According to HappyCow.com, a searchable online listing of vegan and vegetarian resources, there are about 500 restaurants in the U.S. that are 100% vegan.
Sounds like a manageable number, but Lajeunesse is hoping to sample fare from over 1,000 vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants that have at least 50% vegan menus.
These places are concentrated largely in New York City, which has the most vegan
restaurants in the US and the world, along with San Francisco,
Seattle, Portland OR, and even Austin, Texas, which has its own vegan
(Of course, Albany has its “fare” share of vegan and vegetarian restaurant menus, including the New World Bistro Bar and the tasty treats of X’s and O’s Vegan Bakery, and I’m hoping Kristin pays a visit!)
Lajeunesse will be starting her official reviews in Maine, though she has been interviewing vegan restaurant owners and reviewing their dishes where she currently resides, in Boston.
She has spent the last 4-5 years heavily involved in the vegan community, from working at animal welfare organizations, managing social media and public relations for a vegan marketing company based in San Diego, and marketing for the first four years of our very own Capital Region Vegetarian Expo.
The sendoff date, August 27th, is the 5-year anniversary of Lajeunesse’s commitment to veganism. She hopes the trip will raise awareness about veganism, the success of vegan businesses, and about vegan people in general all around the U.S.
She is currently looking for sponsors (alas, her efforts to reach Ellen Degeneres via video plea, complete with dancing and a guest appearance from her cat, have not yet yielded a response) for her primarily self-funded project.
You can help Lajeunesse by making donations, advertising on her site, meeting up and buying a lunch if you’re a vegan, or donating a free meal for review if you’re a vegan/vegetarian restaurant.
Truly a social media specialist, Lajeunesse will be blogging and
vlogging (video blogging) her experiences and reviews through a webpage, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter,
and Flickr, under the project title “Will Travel for Vegan Food”.
You can contact Kristin Lajeunesse about her project at
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Will you be “following” Kristin Lajeunesse’s posts on her journey across the U.S.? How do you feel about vegetarian and veganism? Share your thoughts with us!
Katelynne – Thank you for this great post and for being the first to break the news about my trip. I’m really excited about it and look forward to hearing from others who might be interested in supporting and/or joining this adventure. 🙂
Best of luck on your trip, Kristin! Make sure you have fun, and we’ll all be cheering for you here in the Capital Region!
Good luck, and Bon Appetit! I hope you come to the Capital Region!
Thanks Maralene! I’m going to be in the Capital Region for most of August so I sure do plan to hit up all of the vegan friendly joints in the area. 😀
I don’t at all understand the point of this trip. Ms. Lajeunesse is looking for sponsors essentially to send her on a year-long vacation where she sees every state and gets to try endless varieties of vegan food? This isn’t “brave”, as the first sentence of this article pronounces. More like “bold”, that she would ask for strangers to finance a trip that will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars or more yet has little tangible benefit to society at large but lots of tangible benefit to Ms. Lajeunesse. Sounds exciting for her, but really?
Melanie, I suppose if you’ve already eaten at all the vegan restaurants in the country, then the reviews and interviews and pictures posted on Kristin’s travel blog wouldn’t be useful to you, much like other food and travel blogs or magazines aren’t useful. However, if, as I suspect, you don’t know everything about said restaurants, Kristin’s trip would be useful to anyone who wants to better understand the state of vegan eating in the US but who can’t spend a year living alone on the road, possibly far away from friends and family.
Is it brave? Only in that there are plenty of people who would love to do this but can’t stand to leave a more stable life behind.
Is it bold? Certainly, as is the asking for support from those who find value in what she’s doing. But that’s the boldness of anyone who stands behind their work. If you’ve never asked someone to find value in what you’re doing with your life, then what the hell are you doing with your life?
Thankfully, if you’re not interested in supporting the trip, then you don’t have to pay a dime. You’re even welcome to be a hater. But to come to the conclusion that there is little benefit for anyone other than Kristin is intellectually lazy.
That’s going to leave quite a carbon footprint, in order to review restaurants that are already reviewed on Happy Cow and many other sites.
I’m hoping to get my vehicle switched over to be veggie oil powered. But I have no idea how much that’ll cost or if it’ll be reasonable. I’m looking into it now, though.
There’s also a program where you can essentially pay back your carbon footprint.
I’m looking into a variety of ways to ensure my carbon footprint will be as minimal as possible, on this trip. 🙂
Are you going to just the “restaurants” on HappyCow and other vegan directories? Or will places like vegan bakeries and vegan ice cream parlors be included?
In any case, this sounds ambitious AND fun.
Hi Vegas! 😉
Vegan bakeries and ice cream (especially ice cream! Haha) will definitely be included. I also plan to interview vegan business owners, volunteer at farm animal sanctuaries, and the like.
Let me know if you’ve got recommendations for Vegas… can’t wait to get there!
Thanks for your support. 🙂
Kristin, sounds like a fun and exciting trip! I love that you will visit farmed animal sanctuaries!
Here are some recommendations for Vegas: Pura Vida, Go Raw Cafe, Elixir, Red Velvet Cafe, Atomic #7, Ronalds Donuts, the Wynn. More at vegasveg.com 🙂
Thanks so much for the recommendations. They’ve been added to my list! 🙂
My husband and I love to do the same thing. We just got back from Asheville,NC (spent a week there) tasting our way through the wonderful vegan options and restaurants.On 20/20 a few years back, Asheville was listed as the “most” friendly vegetarian city of its size in the U.S. I had to visit!!
When you get to Texas, let me know. Would love to meet up with you and help. We live in Houston, TX. I could definitely help you here. Oh, I am on the Tofurky box standing in front of the rocket at Nasa. Great contest! Happy Travels, Virginia
Thank you so much! Asheville sounds great. I look forward to checking it out. I also can’t WAIT to get to TX. I hear that it’s quickly become a hot vegan scene. 😉
If you’d like to get an email when I’m heading to TX, please feel free to send me an email (so I have your contact info), or sign up for my newsletter (on my website).
Happy Travels, and I look forward to meeting you soon. 🙂
I’m jealous. If you’re in Charlotte, NC check out Zizi’s vegan to-go. And if you make it to Athens, Ga The Grit is the best place to eat!
Thanks so much for the recommendations! 🙂
Are you sure Austin has a vegan movie theater? Fort Worth might, but I haven’t heard of one in Austin. Although correct me if I’m wrong because I’d love to go.
You’re completely right — check out this article from VegNews.com … The Citizen Theater is the world’s first vegan movie theater, in Fort Worth: http://vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?catId=8&pageId=2843