Meet the diners turning vegan eating’s virtuous reputation on its head.

Rip's Malt Shop

Rip's Malt Shop Food Spread
Credit: Photo courtesy of Rip’s Malt Shop

When chef Matt Robicelli was diagnosed with auto-inflammatory disease, he and his wife, Allison, changed their eating habits. Along with chef David Schaap and restaurateur David Schneider, they opened this Brooklyn diner to satisfy junk food cravings with meat-free Coney dogs and soda floats.

Shimmy Shack

Five years ago, Debra Levantrosser traded her cushy corporate job to man a vegan food truck, a bold move that paid off when her busy Shimmy Shack rig expanded into a '50s-inspired brick-and-mortar diner near Detroit last fall. Veganized versions of stick-to-your-ribs favorites include lentil-loaded burgers, chili-cheese fries, and piles of pass-the–Wet-Nap nachos. 

Vertical Diner

How do you lure hard-core carnivores over to the vegan side? Put a mac-and-cheese burger in front of 'em. And that's just the gateway dish at this Salt Lake City greasy spoon. The meatless takes on buffalo wings (served, of course, with vegan ranch dressing) and breakfast burritos have vegans and meat lovers alike clamoring for a seat inside the reinvented 1920s diner.

Spiral Diner & Bakery

Ghost Burger with potatoes
Credit: Photography by Kimberly Jurgens

Texas and beef go together like, well, Texas and beef, which makes the all-vegan Spiral Diner, and its three locations in the Dallas–Fort Worth area, seem that much more rebellious. The kitchen's Sketti & Meatballs—spaghetti (or brown rice penne), cashew cheese, and the award-winning soy meatballs (yes, there really are awards for faux meatballs)—could make a red-blooded steak lover rethink her diet. 

The Chicago Diner

Chicago Diner Front Exterior
Credit: Photo courtesy of Chicago Diner

If you crave it, odds are the Chicago Diner makes it. From cheesecake to country fried steak, this all-veg, all-American diner with two Chicago-area locations has been a wonderland for comfort-food lovers since 1983. The milkshake menu alone—a dozen dairy-free shakes with flavors like carrot cake and cookie dough–peanut butter—is worth the calories.