After bringing vegan soul food to the people of the DMV for over ten years, NuVegan has reopened their location at Howard University. NuVegan is an entirely vegan, black-owned soul food restaurant with locations throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. From vegan macaroni and cheese to fruit smoothies, this restaurant has something for everyone.
The concept for NuVegan came from the mind of the CEO, Vernon Woodland. According to an interview with Vegetarian Times, Woodland got his start in cooking at the New England Culinary Institute. From there, NuVegan, formerly known as Woodlands Vegan Bistro, opened its doors in 2009 at their Georgia Avenue location in Northwest Washington D.C.
The company continued to expand by opening a food truck in 2013, and their College Park, Maryland location in 2015 shortly after. Since then, NuVegan has only continued to grow. Now, after many months of construction, NuVegan has finally reopened its doors to Howard students. The newest location can be found inside the Armour J. Blackburn University Center, a hub for student life on campus.
In an interview with The Hilltop, Woodland says that it made perfect sense for a new location to be opened within the University.
“Howard University pretty much came out and asked us to be part of the University,” Woodlands said. “I think ‘cause a lot of students have been requesting better options. It was a perfect fit.”
Being that the restaurant is entirely plant-based, its grand reopening has diversified food options for the entire student body. Another popular on-campus food spot is Punchout, a casual dining establishment also located in Blackburn. Alongside American Eats, Pandini’s and WOW, a restaurant called Halal Shack accommodates students who can only eat halal, or products that are permissible by Islamic law. In a diverse setting such as Howard, accessibility has proven to be paramount for the student body’s well-being.
Zoë Savage-Schiller, a sophomore human development major, says that NuVegan’s opening has ensured that she can have healthy and safe options for dining.
“NuVegan is such a blessing to people who are allergic to any animal by-products, because it brings us peace of mind that we can trust our food is 100% compliant with our diet,” Schiller said. “NuVegan opening in Blackburn is finally letting me eat out at the cafe with my friends after class.”
When people think of a vegan diet, tofu and salads may first come to mind. Yet, NuVegan has taken plant-based cooking to a whole other level. Some of the food options that can be found at the restaurant include plant-based fried fish, lasagna, crab cakes, burgers, chicken tenders, tacos, cakes, and even freshly-squeezed juices. Though their University location has been open for only a week, the food has been a hit among students.
Kymora Howell, a sophomore political science major, says that despite not being vegan, she had a positive first time experience.
“For my first time at NuVegan, I tried the tropical smoothie and it was sooo good.” Howell said. “I also tried the cornbread and it was really good…I couldn’t even tell that it was vegan cornbread.”
Despite there being an innumerable amount of vegan eateries popping up around the U.S. in the past few years, NuVegan stands out with their take on soul food. Soul food is a type of cuisine, typically made and eaten within the African-American community. Soul food often includes dishes such as yams, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread.
Veganism is a lifestyle that is often whitewashed within mainstream media, despite there being a great deal of Black vegans. By creating vegan alternatives to classic soul food dishes, NuVegan caters to people with a plant-based diet who still want to enjoy traditional foods.
Copy edited by Lauryn Wilson