Some of our favorite vegan restaurants around the country offer soul food. Soul Veg in Atlanta. Detroit Vegan Soul. Original Vegan Soul in Chicago. Given the classic versions of soul food dishes are so meat-heavy that may come as a surprise. But Forty Acres Soul Kitchen in the Grand Rapids East Hills neighborhood joins these other giants offering some of the best vegan soul food you’ll find anywhere.
The vegan options at Forty Acres are so plentiful it can be a bit of a challenge to decide where to start. For your first stop, we recommend the vegan platter. Panko-crusted tempeh is served with four sides – greens, black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes and gravy, and mac and cheese. The tempeh is well seasoned and crispy, the greens are perfectly salty and melt in your mouth, and the mac and cheese – while not the best around (in our opinion) – is still creamy and delicious.
If you’re there with a vegan friend, order strategically and you’ll be able to almost try everything. That’ll tell you how many options there are. Building your own platter allows you to pick and choose other sides along with the other vegan “protein” option, the cauliflower steak. Then you can choose from the other sides beyond those already mentioned.
- Sweet potato
- Dirty rice
- Green beans
- Seasonal vegetables
- Cup of soup
- Side salad
- Grilled sweet corn
Going deeper into the menu, the vegan grits with wild mushroom and black garlic are awesome for mushroom lovers. They also offer a vegan gumbo.
Our favorite appetizer is the fried cauliflower. Hushpuppies are complementary along with your choice of sauces. Heads up. The only vegan sauces are the sweet chili, Forty hot sauce and barbecue (the jalapeño syrup, remoulade, Cajun aioli are not vegan-friendly).
Forty Acres also has an extensive drink menu highlighting a liquor with deep roots in African American history. Their Cognac Bar gives you that history along with an understanding of the production and a lesson in the different designations. Whether it’s a mixed drink or a cognac to sip neat your server can guide you. If you partake, it’s absolutely worth exploring the Midwest’s only cognac bar!