Thanks to LA’s ever-growing appetite for all things plant-based, there’s no shortage of vegan establishments sprouting across the city. Case in point: RING Baked Tofu Donuts in Woodland Hills, vegan deli Counterpart in Echo Park, and plant-based American fusion concept O’Cado Restaurant, among handfuls of other options.
But there’s one standout shop in East Hollywood that’s making its mark by reinventing everything you thought you knew about your neighborhood convenience store. Say hello to BESTIES Vegan Paradise, the hip iteration of 7-Eleven dedicated to selling and serving hyper-local, sans-meat products.
What was once an unassuming corner market is now what can only be described as a vegan’s dream come true. A meat-free consumer herself, that’s exactly how co-founder Alison Shead characterizes BESTIES, a bodega that she and her two best friends/co-founders opened in an effort to make vegan goods easily accessible by bringing all your everyday essentials together under one roof.
Their motto “All Vegan Everything” says it all. When you walk into the specialty store, you don’t need to question whether the ingredients are plant-based or scrutinize food labels. BESTIES has taken the guesswork out of living a veggie-only lifestyle by exclusively carrying 100% cruelty-free and vegan brands.
The refrigerators that once housed dairy and meats now showcase entirely plant-based products from mainstream and local vegan brands alike. Most importantly, though, Alison and her partners strive to be a platform for fellow LA-based vegan companies. Which is why they are committed to cultivating personal relationships with their vendors to ensure BESTIES is able to stock as many fresh goods from area purveyors as possible.
Not convinced? Just peruse the aisles and you’ll find a slew of products made in the LA area. Reach for The Beyond Burger, the beloved plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like the real deal. Or, if you’re on the go, grab some Nodoh Mock ‘Tuna’ Salad, Rabbit Hole Foods Un-Chicken Curry Salad, or Mort and Betty’s Carrot Lox that are sure to fool your taste buds. Do yourself a favor and add Follow Your Heart American Style ‘Cheese’ Slices and Wildly Fermented Kraut to round out your meal.
Got a sweet tooth? Don’t worry, they don’t skimp on the baked goods, courtesy of Ridiculous Baking Co. and Karma Baker.
In addition, you can pick up the usual suspects you’d find at 7-Eleven, just in the form of healthier, plant-based versions. Think jerky, cereal, crackers, ramen, milk alternatives, and juice, as well as protein powder, deodorant, and toothpaste.
Craving a hot meal? Every Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, BESTIES hosts various local vendors dishing out delicious plant-based eats. Dig into bites like Heart Attack Rolls from Jade Vegan Sushi, Philly Cheesesteaks from Enjoying Earth, and Unreal NY Reubens from Original Herbivore, just to name a few.
Then there’s Vrank’s, a permanent vegan pop-up serving classic franks, Beyond sausages, chili and cheese add-ons from The Vegan Hooligans, and Nodoh Nozzarella sticks. Need we say more?
Open every day from 8am to 8pm, BESTIES truly is a vegan paradise. But don’t take our word for it — sling your reusable tote over your shoulder and go check them out for yourself.