Photo Credit: Tamearra Dyson
From Oakland To The World: How Souley Vegan Became A Top Black-Owned Restaurant In The U.S.
Vegan cuisine has been growing year after year around the world, promising to deliver healthy food and, at the same time, consciousness about the protection of the environment and the lives of animals. Since opening, Black-owned vegan restaurant Souley Vegan—located in Oakland (CA)— has been standing out as one of the strongest brands within the vegan universe.
The restaurant has been consistently named as one of the best vegan restaurants over the years. It was voted as one of the top ten soul food restaurants in the country by USA TODAY. Souley Vegan is the only vegan restaurant featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and its owner Tamearra Dyson is the first vegan chef to ever win on Beat Bobby Flay.
Created in 2006 by Dyson with only $27, the California-born single mother has created one of the largest vegan restaurants in the country, offering a unique style of vegan cuisine— plant-based Louisiana Creole cuisine.
First opened in Oakland, Souley Vegan has expanded now to San Francisco and Las Vegas.
“I had a passion for preparing vegan food. Coming from a place of food insecurity as a child, I wanted to build something that I had not only a passion for, but something that would ensure people around me would not go hungry. I love cooking and creating recipes and my family being from Louisiana and me being vegan, it was a natural fusion,” Dyson told Travel Noire.
She said that Souley Vegan was created from her soul, and she wanted that to show from the first impression that guests get to the last.
“People know me from not only what we deliver, but how we deliver it. In addition to that, everything that went and goes into building Souley Vegan. SV is a child of love and intention, not just a business model.”
Dyson added that Souley Vegan receives great support from the Black community.
To her, more African-Americans are learning the importance of changing their diet in order to “live.”
“One thing I know is that when you eat better you feel better, and when you feel better you do better for yourself and others. So overall, when in this state, you help to bring life to not only yourself but also your community. Who would compliment someone else or say good afternoon to your neighbor if they do not feel well? Yes, something as simple or seemingly minute as this, could change someone’s day or help to restore their faith in humanity and when you feel good within yourself, you help to create a healthier environment.”
Dyson revealed that Seitan Country Steak Plate with house-made seitan (a plant-based meat substitute made out of wheat gluten) served with mash potato and collard greens, is the most popular dish for the restaurant.
But other options such as Deez Ain’t Gator Bites (diced Louisiana hot links, Creole-spiced battered mushrooms, and house made “swamp sauce”), and the Soul Food Platter combo plate with juicy Southern fried tofu, cooked red boy beans and rice, and silky cashew mac and cheese— are also favorites among guests.
Souley Vegan is located at 301 Broadway in Oakland (original dine-in location); 615 N Western Ave. in Los Angeles Ca.; 333 W Saint Louis Ave. in Las Vegas, Nevada, and 60 Morris Street in San Francisco Ca. You can also follow the restaurant on Instagram.