NYC Is Celebrating Plant-Based Eating with Its First Meat-Free Holiday

The city is joining the popular MeatOut initiative.

If you were thinking about grabbing a juicy hamburger for lunch, think again. New York City recently announced that it will be the latest city to join the MeatOut initiative, which will make March 20 a meat-free holiday.

With Mayor Eric Adams signing the proclamation last week, New York officially joins the ranks of cities like Los Angeles, Dallas, Louisville, Philadelphia, and more.

Started as a project by the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) in 1985, the MeatOut initiative aims to educate cities about the health and sustainability benefits of a plant-based diet that reduces meat and dairy consumption.

"As a New Yorker myself, I am particularly proud of this proclamation," Eric C. Lindstrom, FARM executive director, said in a statement. "The advances Mayor Adams has made toward a plant-based future, and Vegan Fridays in New York City schools, align perfectly with our mission and the mission of MeatOut."

The meat-free holiday kicks off on March 20, followed by five days of celebrations for city residents. Participating restaurants across town will welcome guests with plant-based menus and food options. A series of educational events will also be rolled out, some of which are sponsored by—and held in collaboration with—the vegan Manhattan restaurant P.S. Kitchen.

Mayor Adams—an imperfect vegan, as the "FishGate" social media uproar revealed—has long been a supporter of a plant-based lifestyle. Even though he admits some vegetarians and vegans like himself will eventually cheat on their diets, he believes in the importance of spreading the message.

"The more plant-based meals you have, the healthier you’re going to be," Adams told reporters, according to The New York Times. "Don’t worry about what’s on Mayor Adams’s plate—put these items on your plate."

Last month, the Mayor debuted "Vegan Fridays," a plant-based initiative requiring schools to serve meat-free and dairy-free meals on the last day of the week.

NYC's vegan and vegetarian culinary scene continues to grow. Over the past few years, a slew of vegan joints—from bakeries to restaurants and even diners like Brooklyn's Champs Diner—have set up shop around the city, and more businesses are joining the plant-based mission. You can find a complete list of the best NYC vegan and vegetarian restaurants right here on Thrillist.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.