Many of you know that I am relatively new to Grand Rapids but I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit. When I first came here I was overwhelmed not only by the quality of the vegan and vegetarian dining options but also the number of options we had for a town of this size. This led me to begin claiming in casual conversation that Grand Rapids had more vegan and vegetarian restaurants, per capita, than any other city in America (without anything to *actually* back that up).
And then, last week Isa Chandra Moskowitz sent out this tweet:
We, of course, responded saying that she needed to visit Grand Rapids because “We may have more vegan options per capita than any other city in the US. ” and invited her to come and be our guest. We realized that we really had no data to back our claim when she asked how we came to that conclusion. So, now we finally can now say that according to Happy Cow, we are the most veg-friendly city in the country! Salt Lake City holds the title of most vegan eateries per capita.
Fair warning. This is obviously pretty unscientific. Some points to consider:
1. We used Happy Cow as our guide, and even though we definitely plan to, we have yet to visit some of these fine cities and enjoy your vegan offerings. It’s possible that Happy Cow may not be up to date in your town.
2. We used this Wikipedia page to determine population size. This can be tricky with metro areas (I mean, does Atlanta EVER end?), so for that reason, we limited the Happy Cow search to five miles. We realize what that means for a city like Los Angeles, versus say NYC.
3. There are two scores. One for purely vegan restaurants per capita, and then also the total veg-friendly. SLC kicks everyone’s ass for having the most vegan joints per capita. The order below is for total restaurants…vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly.
4. This is just a number, and in my opinion, does nothing to actually indicate whether or not a city is actually vegan friendly. I think there are lots more things to consider overall health and friendliness. It may come to light that perhaps, per capita, Aberdeen, South Dakota has more options than anyone else. It’s unlikely that the town itself if vegan friendly….if you know what I mean (sorry South Dakota!)
5. I am not a math whiz. I failed college algebra, so statistics are certainly not my strong suit. We have, however, run these through a couple of people who do know this stuff so we think it’s solid on that front (one of those may or may not have been our cat Carl). If you disagree, please let us know in the comments.
6. While we’d love for people to talk about this and talk about their city in a prideful way (seriously, feel free to boast!), we should remember that we are all on the same team. The most amazing thing about this was realizing just how large the vegan movement is growing across the country. This is really cool, and we shouldn’t forget that.
So without further ado…..drum roll
So you can see Grand Rapids, as it currently stands (updated as of 12/18/12), has the most “veg friendly” restaurants per capita over the other cities displayed. Crazy awesome!