DC Veg Restaurant Week showcases flavorful, plant-based specials, discounts … and more

A vegan Siciliana Pizza from Pizzeria Paradiso. (Courtesy D.C. Veg Restaurant Week)

For Bershan Shaw, her healthy, happy life is all to thanks her vegan diet. The TV personality, CEO, tech founder and business coach told WTOP that she became a vegan after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer 16 years ago.

“[My] doctor said I had three months to live, and it was a rude awakening, but it was something for me to change my mindset and change my diet,” said Shaw, who said the healthier lifestyle improved her blood pressure, sugar levels and also her cancer.

“I’m considered ‘no evidence of disease,’ and thank God, I’ve never gotten sick again, never had to go to a hospital. They don’t see anything on my scans, and I really do attribute it to my diet,” she said.

This year, to celebrate her health journey, Shaw is co-chair of D.C. Veg Restaurant Week, which is a celebration of all things plant-based throughout the D.C. area. Running from May 6 through 12, the event will feature approximately 25 participating restaurants with specials, events and giveaways throughout, plus a VIP party at Rooted3 in Bethesda, Maryland, on May 4. Tickets for the VIP party cost $50.

Max Broad, founder of D.C. Veg Restaurant Week, launched the event in 2022 to support local restaurants and chefs who are promoting “one of the best ways we can lower our carbon footprint.”

“The benefits to the mind, body and planet are just phenomenal when we’re promoting plant-based [eating],” Broad said.

A few notable restaurants participating this year include Busboys and Poets, El Tamarindo, Tabla and Equinox on 19th.

Molly Gibson, co-founder of Rooted3 restaurant, which is also participating in the food festival, told WTOP that they will offer 10% off all meals and also launch a new cocktail menu that is fully plant-based.

As someone who lives a plant-based lifestyle, Gibson said, “It completely changed my life and healed me more than anything else.”

Joseph “JB” Blair, co-chair of D.C. Veg Restaurant Week and Washington Wizards assistant coach, hopes that the event will offer a new perspective to people who may not typically eat plant-focused diets.

Blair told WTOP, “I think people automatically have this stigma of thinking plant-based food is just salad and tofu. And for me, to have all these restaurants involved, just showing the plethora of amazing foods and different diversity of foods that you can enjoy on a plant based diet is something I’m pretty passionate about as well.”

To find the full list and a map of participating restaurants, head to the event’s official website, and check out the social media accounts for chances at raffle prizes.

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Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of “D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for 'Artsplained' on YouTube.

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