Posted by happycowgirl at 06/16/12 17:18:50Hi flojpan,
SF, LA or NY? You can't go wrong! If it were me, I'd pick Los Angeles. You can get a really good sampling of different types of veg restaurants.
For example, take the popular bakery-cafe type of restaurant (like Panera Bread..have u heard of them? They're everywhere in the U.S. and Canada). Places like Native Foods Cafe and The Veggie Grill are like veganized Panera Breads. Both have locations in LA. Also, the Red Velvet Cafe in Las Vegas has a similar style.
If you're thinking of doing more of an intimate, gourmet restaurant I'd check out Fatty's in LA and Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana (just outside LA). Green Zebra in Chicago I'd also put in this category.
If you're looking for somewhere hip with top-notch food and a great vibe I'd check out Sage Organic Vegan Bistro in LA and Follow Your Heart Rest&Market in Canoga Park (outside LA). Mana Food Bar in Chicago is another example of a hip place with top-notch veggie grub.
If you're looking to do totally gourmet with upscale surroundings I'd check out Millenium in San Francisco and Karyn's on Green in Chicago.
If you are talking about doing a restaurant that is totally integrated such that vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters have equal menu options...honestly I've found those places are hard to come by. They are rare treasures in my book. I would put the following restaurants in that category:
Protein Bar, various locations in Chicago
Marie Catrib's in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Brick Road Pizza in Grand Rapids, Michigan
McFoster's Natural Kind Cafe in Omaha, Nebraska
You can probably research most of these places on-line. And I think all are listed on Happycow.