Eat Student Voices

Eat Like a Vegan in the Five College Area

For almost two centuries, Pioneer Valley has been home to academics and foodies alike. With college students comes activism and a demand for sustainable food. Here are some vegan-friendly favorites in the area.

Tea & Coffee  

The Roost 

1 Market St, Northampton, MA 01060 ● (413) 587-2625 

This is an easy favorite cafe for vegans and those with gluten-free allergies. It is within walking distance from Smith’s campus in lively downtown Northampton. Why is this a vegan’s favorite? The Roost doesn’t charge extra for milk substitutes. YUP. It’s true. In addition to coffee, they have plenty of snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Inside is always cozy and a great spot to study. 

Vegan chili at The Roost (Credit: Instagram @theroostnorthampton).

Woodstar Cafe

60 Masonic St B, Northampton, MA 01060 ● (413) 585-9777

Yes, another Northampton pick, but trust me! This cozy cafe is a favorite study spot that offers milk substitutes and original drinks besides coffee (try the caffeine-free ginger chai or honey lemon ginger drink). The baked goods always include vegan and gluten-free options.

Breakfast & Brunch

Cafe Evolution

22 Chestnut St, Florence, MA 01062 ● (413) 586-0200

This hidden gem is tucked away in Florence, less than a five minute drive from Northampton. The menu always provides seasonal specials that are truly unique to Cafe Evolution. Perfect spot for a weekend brunch. Delicious bakery items are available, too.

French toast from Cafe Evolution (Credit: Facebook @cafeevolutionflorence).

Lunch & Dinner

Iya Sushi and Noodle Kitchen

15 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075 ● (413) 532-8000

While this restaurant is not explicitly vegan or vegetarian, their vegan ramen dish is something you can’t miss. It is warm and comforting on a cold Massachusetts day. They also have several vegan-friendly appetizers and sushi rolls. If you’re there during the summer, be sure to ask for their summer drink specials! And in addition to their South Hadley location, they have a storefront in Amherst.

Pulse Cafe

270 Russell St, Hadley, MA 01035 ● (413) 387-0555

Pulse Cafe is a full-fledged vegan paradise. Not only is Pulse a restaurant, but they also have a market stocked with vegan goodies. Don’t worry—they have gluten free options, too. They’re always serving up brunch specials. Be sure to admire the goats at the animal sanctuary next door before heading in! This is definitely on the pricier side, but a place that students go for a treat. 

A spread at Pulse Cafe (Credit: Instagram @pulsecafema).

Haymarket Cafe

185 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060 ● (413) 586-9969

This is a casual spot for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Along with meals, they have fabulous smoothies, fresh squeezed juices, and baked goods. Haymarket is a sustainable restaurant, being a vegetarian cafe with loads of vegan options. They also are community activists; they have a “Common Account” in which customers can make a donation to help fund their sliding scale menu for those who can’t afford a meal.

Sambar Soup and chai at Haymarket Cafe (Credit: Facebook @haymarketcafe).

If Someone Else is Buying

India House

45 State St, Northampton, MA 01060 ● (413) 586-5344

Parents in town and want to treat you for dinner? India House is a wonderful pick. In this brightly decorated restaurant, you will find an abundance of savory plant-based options. Once again, be sure to save your leftovers as the portions are generous!

A savory meal from India House (Credit: Facebook @indiahousenorthampton).


In all honesty, most of the restaurants listed above have dessert options that are not to be missed! However, if there is one place that specializes in desserts that a vegan should go to, it’s…

Glazed Doughnut Shop

19 N Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002 ● (413) 230-6811

YES, a doughnut shop that makes fluffy, vegan doughnuts—not cake doughnuts that are so often offered instead of real ones. Some popular ones are covered with Fruity Pebbles or Oreos. Located in downtown Amherst, this is a great spot to satisfy that sweet tooth. 

Gluten-free, vegan Boston cream doughnuts at Glazed (Credit: Facebook @glazeddoughnutshop).

By Abby Golden

Hey! I'm Abby, an undergraduate studying fine arts at Smith College. I am from Clearwater which is a part of the Tampa Bay area on the west coast of Florida. I love exploring nature, traveling (when we can!), art, volunteering, and being a vegan foodie!