Fort Wayne nationally recognized as city with variety of vegan-friendly options

The Summit City has positioned itself as the eighth-best city in the country for vegans and vegetarians, according to a WalletHub study.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 10:57 AM
Updated: Oct 29, 2020 11:51 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- When Heather Dahman became vegan 12 years ago, she was devastated to give up her favorite foods.

"I was just like 'how am I never going to eat a burger again?'" Dahman said.

But at Savery Vegan Grill, she doesn't have to miss out.

The family-owned restaurant specializes in making vegan junk food, using faux meats and cheeses.

The grill opened its doors in 2018, when Co-Owner Brittany George noticed a lack of options for plant-based folks in The Fort.

"We want to eliminate that barrier. Make things seem normal, let people realize they don't have to give up things they love eating and they grew up eating to go vegan," George said.

Since then, the Summit City has positioned itself as the eighth-best city in the country for vegans and vegetarians, according to a WalletHub study.

Dahman, founder of the Facebook group Fort Wayne Vegans and Vegetarians, says she doesn't have to eat at vegan-only restaurants because many mainstream places have options for her as well.

"I put together a Fort Wayne vegan dining guide that lists local restaurants that have at least two main vegan options," Dahman said.

One of the 30 restaurants on her list is The Hoppy Gnome.

The restaurant features an extensive list of tacos for meat-eaters and herbivores alike.

From beef, duck and mahi-mahi to tofu, and fried cauliflower, Hoppy Gnome General Manager Peter Shuey says catering to all guests is what they're about.

"From day one we've been about people and if there is a group of people that don't eat meat or prefer not to eat a certain ingredient, let's cater to them as well," Shuey said.

But what about folks who want to enjoy vegan food from the comfort of their homes?

The WalletHub study says the reason Fort Wayne ranked higher than big cities like New York or Chicago was produce affordability.

While we ranked last in terms of number of juice and smoothie bars, we ranked first for lowest cost of groceries.

Stores like Meijer, Kroger, Trader Joes, Walmart and Aldi are stocked with meat alternatives that Dahman says won't break the bank.

"You can find the vegan options, the specialty vegan options - faux meats, faux cheese, egg, like vegan egg - at any grocery store," Dahman said.

Community leaders like Dahman already have plans to keep Fort Wayne near the top of the list.

At the beginning of next month, she is orchestrating a Vegan Restaurant Week, which will feature local restaurants and cafes.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 707111

Reported Deaths: 13216
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion963501718
Lake51613944
Allen39106671
Hamilton34449405
St. Joseph33979539
Elkhart27255432
Vanderburgh22060394
Tippecanoe21765212
Porter17945298
Johnson17507374
Hendricks16786310
Clark12681190
Madison12338337
Vigo12204244
Monroe11443166
LaPorte11118204
Delaware10341184
Howard9652211
Kosciusko9114114
Hancock7964139
Bartholomew7880155
Warrick7681155
Floyd7555176
Wayne6895198
Grant6837171
Boone6541100
Morgan6390138
Dubois6079117
Marshall5779108
Dearborn569876
Cass5683102
Henry5572100
Noble540683
Jackson493069
Shelby478495
Lawrence4338118
Gibson427989
Harrison427670
Clinton418653
Montgomery417786
DeKalb409184
Huntington378680
Whitley377939
Miami372465
Knox365989
Steuben364457
Putnam352560
Jasper350146
Wabash347678
Adams337952
Ripley334568
Jefferson312980
White308154
Daviess289299
Wells286281
Decatur278792
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268533
Scott261053
Clay253244
LaGrange252470
Randolph235280
Washington230731
Spencer227631
Jennings224747
Fountain208445
Sullivan207742
Starke203952
Owen192156
Fulton191439
Jay186029
Carroll185720
Perry180236
Orange177253
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130234
Pulaski113645
Newton103534
Brown100040
Crawford97614
Benton96713
Martin82615
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55711
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1052099

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1221671356
Cuyahoga1070432069
Hamilton781801168
Montgomery50040996
Summit45383909
Lucas40122765
Butler37721570
Stark31437895
Lorain24166473
Warren23885293
Mahoning20905583
Lake20009362
Clermont19441229
Delaware18038130
Licking16124207
Fairfield15708197
Trumbull15585460
Medina14868259
Greene14668236
Clark13634293
Wood12767185
Portage12384196
Allen11328229
Richland11041198
Miami10536214
Muskingum8706127
Wayne8576209
Columbiana8546226
Pickaway8436121
Marion8377135
Tuscarawas8376240
Erie7566154
Hancock6714123
Ross6699146
Geauga6537146
Ashtabula6495165
Scioto6289101
Belmont5626158
Union557647
Lawrence5467102
Jefferson5324147
Huron5307114
Darke5273121
Sandusky5174120
Seneca5124120
Washington5076107
Athens501556
Auglaize475684
Mercer471684
Shelby456090
Knox4387108
Madison422859
Putnam421599
Ashland413188
Fulton409467
Defiance402596
Crawford3872101
Brown386455
Logan372976
Preble370398
Clinton361560
Ottawa356978
Highland347059
Williams326774
Champaign320657
Jackson308451
Guernsey306649
Perry289949
Fayette277848
Morrow275339
Hardin264264
Henry263766
Coshocton259457
Holmes253399
Van Wert239162
Gallia233346
Pike233331
Adams228552
Wyandot227253
Hocking209059
Carroll189247
Paulding168638
Meigs141538
Noble132837
Monroe128841
Morgan106623
Harrison105336
Vinton81514
Unassigned02
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