The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

NuVegan Café in Washington, D.C.

Posted on September 22, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Whitney Gray, VRG Intern

Stepping into NuVegan Cafe was an entirely new experience for me. It wasn’t just my first time visiting them in particular. I’m from a very small town in Georgia with hardly any restaurants with vegan options, so it was my first time dining at a restaurant that didn’t serve meat, let alone one with an entirely vegan menu. Needless to say, I was extremely excited, which completely blocked out the terror I had driving through D.C. to get there. What’s interesting about NuVegan is that they serve their food buffet style. This had me a bit skeptical. Buffets have been the bane of my existence since transitioning to veganism. I’ve had plenty of well-meaning family members and friends take me out to buffet restaurants thinking there had to be at least one thing I can eat on an “all you can eat” menu. All I can eat turns out to be a dry salad and maybe some vegetables if they’re steamed instead of sautéed in butter. Obviously a vegan restaurant wouldn’t have this problem, but I still found myself having flashbacks of a sea of blandness.

NuVegan Cafe, however, delivered in a way I couldn’t have imagined. First the man behind the counter was incredibly friendly and was happy to describe all the dishes to me and how they “veganized” the ones typically made with animal products elsewhere such as their Vegan Chik’n Drummies. What was also great was that they had tiny cups to let you sample some of the dishes so you’d know if you liked it before they serve it to you. I found myself enamored with a vibrant spread with everything from vegan soul food reminiscent of the dishes I used to enjoy every Thanksgiving or Christmas like candied yams and mac and cheese to raw options like a carrot soufflé, artichokes, or marinated kale. For once, I didn’t have to ask twenty questions before ordering, and this was the perfect spot to introduce me into the world of vegan restaurants.

After sampling a few delectable vegetable sides that were well seasoned with a little bite to them still instead of being limp and overcooked, I went straight to the dishes I was eyeing the entire time. After sampling a bit of mac and cheese and lasagna, I fell madly in love. I’ve spent my last three years as a vegan trying to perfect the vegan versions of my two old favorites and coming close, but not quite there. I don’t know what NuVegan Cafe did, but the mac and cheese was the perfect combination of creamy, but with the baked, hearty texture that I’ve always loved and the lasagna had the right amount of tang in the sauce that blended beautifully with what looked like tofu “ricotta” and a cashew “cheese.” For the first time ever at a buffet, I wanted to and could eat everything, but they have you select one entrée and two sides as a meal. After selecting the lasagna, the mac and cheese, and a squash and pepper medley, I paid at the counter and took a seat in their dimly lit and cozy dining area and savored each bite. Since they serve it in a paper to go carton, I could easily close up what I couldn’t finish and head out.

I highly recommend NuVegan Cafe if you’re a vegan missing some of your old comfort foods or anyone looking to discover that we don’t just eat kale. But if you do just eat kale, they easily make that delicious too. My only regret is that I didn’t pick up one of the giant cinnamon buns I saw another girl leave with, but I’ll remember that for next time.

NuVegan Cafe is located at 2928 Georgia Avenue in Washington, D.C. where I visited and also at 8150 Baltimore Ave in College Park, Maryland. They are open Monday – Thursday 11am – 9pm, Friday – Saturday 11am – 10pm, and Sunday 10am-7pm.
For more information see:

202-232-1700 Washington, D.C.
240-553-7567 College Park, Maryland
For more information about other vegan/vegetarian restaurants around the U.S. and Canada, see The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Restaurant Guide at:

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