Black Queer-owned meal-prep company the Vintage Vegan Diner is bringing Las Vegas its first vegan vending machine.
Founders Autumn (known as Tumn) and Taylor Riley-Parham announced the details of the new vending machine on social media earlier this month. It will contain Vintage Vegan’s most popular original menu items, including four different varieties of tofu bites, edible cookie dough, and two types of slider.
Each slider features a freshly baked bun and in-house-prepared vegan turkey, combined with either pepper jack or mozzarella-style dairy-free cheese. Tofu bites come with either original, garlic, buffalo, or lemon pepper sauce. All the meals will be frozen and require reheating.
Vintage Vegan Diner is well-known for its affordable, plant-based take on all-American cuisine, including additional favorites such as collard greens, macaroni cheese, and boil bags, which contain sausage, peppers, potatoes, and corn — all mixed with a homemade sauce.
‘It’s Vital to Make Veganism an Option’
Vintage Vegan Diner first launched in May and since then, it has frequently sold out. It offers both online ordering and curbside pickup, along with catering services and regular pop-up appearances. The company delivers across the Las Vegas valley, regardless of distance, so as to better cater to the community at large.
“When quarantine first began, there were no vegan options in our area, especially none that were affordable,” Tumn and Taylor told LIVEKINDLY via email. “We think that both of our backgrounds, especially as Black individuals, veganism is not something that has ever been taught to us, nor has it been accessible to us.”
They added that the new vegan vending machine is another useful way to increase people’s access to plant-based food. The machine will be moving locations regularly, as suggested by the community. This will help to make the plant-based dishes available to different Las Vegas residents in different parts of the city — 24 hours a day.
“It’s crucial to bring veganism to all communities and to break stigmas that veganism is something that looks like a certain person,” noted the founders. “Especially in communities of color, lower-income communities, and inner cities where food deserts are so prevalent- it’s vital to make veganism an option.”
Vegan Las Vegas
Diana Edelman, the founder of Vegans, Baby — an online blog, brand, and comprehensive guide to all things vegan in Las Vegas — told LIVEKINDLY that Vintage Vegan is one of just a few local businesses producing its own plant-based bread, meat, and cheese. She also emphasized the new vending machine’s potential to increase accessibility.
“It’s a creative, innovative way to meet customer demands and makes it easier and more convenient to get the Vintage Vegan Diner food people love,” she said.
“The perception of plant-based food has evolved tremendously in Las Vegas,” added Edelman, specifically highlighting the growing number of plant-based restaurants, increasing awareness, and a growing vegan community.
Vintage Vegan Diner’s vending machine is coming to Fergusons Downtown — a community area with bars, restaurants, and other projects — in January 2021. According to the brand, they are already working on the next vending machine. Additional Vintage Vegan pop-ups in Las Vegas, further expansion, and even collaboration with other brands is also on the cards.
“We hope to cultivate a community, and bring together people from all walks of life,” explained Tumn and Taylor. “Both vegans and non-vegans who are open to try new things. We want to normalize vegan food, after all, it’s just food.”
This year, vegan vending machines also launched in the Netherlands in response to the growing demand for plant-based food — and for COVID-safe food on-the-go. In 2019, vegan vending machines launched in Canada, select U.S. hospitals, and several different cities in the UK.