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Staff photo by Tim Barber / Kristiana Mallo, co-owner of Cashew, enters the vegan cafe on River Street in this file photo from Dec. 14, 2017.

Good news for vegan food lovers living in the Chattanooga area, at least according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Chattanooga was named No. 7 on the organization's list of most Vegan-Friendly Towns and Small Cities.

Asheville, North Carolina, topped the list. Dayton, Ohio; Frederick, Maryland; Tacoma, Washington; Boise, Idaho; San Marcos, Texas; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Bend, Oregon; and Brisbee, Arizona round out the Top 10.

According to an article on PETA.org, an estimated 9.7 million Americans are vegan. In addition to all the ways in which going vegan benefits animals, the environment and our health, research shows that more and more people are leaning toward going vegan because of the pandemic, the article states.

Of Chattanooga, it states, "Chattanooga's vegan website, ChattaVegan, has all kinds of resources for locals who are vegan or considering going vegan, including recipes, restaurant lists, podcasts, documentaries, and even a map of all the vegan-friendly businesses in the area.

"At Cashew, Chattanooga's vegan café and bakery, you can indulge in veganized comfort foods like jackfruit nachos, house-made 'meatballs,' and more.

"There are also several vegan-accommodating spots such as Bluegrass Grill (which serves tofu hash and vegan black bean chili), Fat Boy's Roadside Eats (which offers vegan chicken wraps and Philly cheesesteaks), Taco Mamacita, Firebox Grill, Mr. T's Pizza & Ice Cream, and Clumpies Ice Cream Co."

Fay Boy's manager and co-owner Tyler Kurtz said the cheesesteaks and wraps are the most popular dishes there, but they offer a large vegan menu. He said his grandmother, with whom he co-owns the restaurant, is vegan.

"We get quite a few vegan people in here, and people are often very surprised at the large menu options we have," Kurtz said.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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