Vegan BLT from Vegetalien / Photo by Meghan Spiro
The Hudson Valley Vegetarian Bible
Where to eat, shop, and learn about vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based lifestyles along the Hudson River. Plus, retreats to help you have a clean, healthy year.
By Robert Rubsam
Vegetarian food can be hard to find in the Hudson Valley. As a rule, the further you get from the city, the fewer your options, with Greene and Columbia counties presenting the biggest challenge for foodies who avoid flesh. While many restaurants include a vegetarian dish or two, they rarely receive the same level of care as bigger-ticket menu items.
“As animal lovers,” says local chef Bobbi Jo Forte, “we were frustrated by the limited vegetarian and vegan options at nearby eateries. If we dine out, we end up asking if there is meat and dairy in basic menu items such as soup.”
Her response was to open the Wildflower Cafe in Red Hook, which serves a variety of unpretentious, meatless dishes. And she isn’t alone. Over the last 10 years many healthy, veg-friendly establishments have opened from Nyack to Albany, serving inventive, affordable, and, most importantly, delicious dishes for those on a plant-based diet.
This guide, while not exhaustive, should give you a good sense of the best places for both a sit-down meal and a quick bite. Both vegan and vegetarian restaurants are represented, as well as those that include significant vegetarian and vegan options, and unique, non-meat dishes that are worth tasting.