Ohio: Well Rounded Dairy-Free Dining Options in the Buckeye State

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Last Updated February 23, 2021! When it comes to dairy-free ice cream and other vegan eats, Cleveland does rock. But so do Columbus, Cincinnati, and various other Ohio cities. That’s why we’ve been able to create this ever-growing guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and ice cream shops in Ohio that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!), that’s divided into local restaurants (first) and chains (second).

Note: You can ignore the date on this post going forward. We’ll update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new restaurant recommendation, change, or closure. 

Ohio - Recommended Restaurants, Cafes, Bakeries, Ice Cream Shops and More for Dairy-Free Diners in the Buckeye State. Most are vegan-friendly and have gluten-free options too.Gyros at Harmony Plant Fare

Local Ohio Restaurants Recommended for Dairy-Free Eats

Ohio might be on the edge of dairy country, but many of their local dishes are typically dairy free. Look for Cincinnati-style chili served on spaghetti or hot dogs, Barberton Chicken (fried in lard), and clam bakes. These dishes are often prepared without any milk-based ingredients. And of course, check out the restaurants below for more options. We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city, and then by the restaurant or shop name.

⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)

Akron

  • Melt Bar & Grilled – This local restaurant chain has an entire vegan menu of grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, and more. See the Cleveland Listing for full details.
  • Ms. Julie’s Kitchen ⭐️ – This downhome country kitchen is purely vegan. They have a selection of savory comfort food dishes, and daily vegan donuts, cakes, and cupcakes.
  • Mustard Seed Market & Cafe ⭐️ – This locally owned grocery store has two locations and a cafe at each site. The menu is extensive, with icons for dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan. They serve starters, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and more. They also whip up dairy-free smoothies and have some vegan desserts available.
  • Old Carolina Barbecue Company – They’re a local chain that cares about special diet diners. They have a gluten-free menu and a full allergen chart with an impressive array of dairy-free options. Their meats are slow-cooked for 14 hours, but the food comes out quickly at this counter-serve restaurant. In addition to their pulled pork, ribs, smokehouse chicken, coleslaws, beans, and French fries, dairy-free customers can order hush puppies and Boardwalk Bites, which are basically donut holes with tossed in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.

Alliance

Athens

  • Avalanche Pizza – There are no ordinary pies on the menu at this local pizzeria. Their toppings are quite creative. They do offer dairy-free cheese alternative, and have a cheeseless vegan pizza right on the menu, with their housemade spelt crust and marinara, and loads of flavorful vegetables.
  • Fluff – Vegan and gluten-free options are clearly labeled on their lunch and bakery menus. The vegan options include rice bowls, salad, cookies, and vanilla cupcakes. Additional items are dairy-free or can be made dairy-free on request.
  • Village Bakery & Cafe – You can order vegan empanadas, pizzas, and various other dairy-free baked goods from this local shop. They also sell pantry items and wines.

Avon

Beachwood

Boardman

  • Ely’s to Go ⭐️ – They have some seating, but everything at this vegan restaurant is packaged ready to go. Their daily menu includes soups, salads, spring rolls, rotating sandwiches, muffins, cookies, and scones.

Canton

Cincinnati

  • Bean Sprouts Cafe – Bean Sprouts plants cafés inside family destinations across the country. This one is inside the Cincinnati Museum Center. Their playful yet healthy menu is allergy-friendly, and boasts a few different dairy-free breakfast and lunch options for kids and adults.
  • Brixx Wood Fired Pizza – This is a popular regional chain that offers dairy-free cheese alternative at no extra charge! In fact, their classic pizza crust and sauce are vegan, and they can make any veggie pizza vegan. They also have a fantastic allergen list. It tells you the specific items with dairy AND the items that contain dairy even when you hold the cheese. As a not-so-obvious heads up, their Thai Chili Sauce contains dairy.
  • For Goodness Shakes and Juicery – You can enjoy unique smoothies, rice bowls, and “baglettes” at this local shop. Most of their menu is dairy-free, and they serve many vegan items. They do offer dairy creamer, a couple cheeses, and a few other items, so check carefully. Nonetheless, they have their own fruit and avocado “no-gurt” bowls, and coconut and rice milks for all of your dairy-free beverage needs.
  • Happy Chicks Bakery ⭐️ – This quirky bake shop and cafe is completely vegan. They serve a savory menu of sandwiches, salads, soups, and sides for lunch, and offer many items to go, like empanadas, quiches, croissants, and savory scones. On the sweet side, they bake daily cakes, cupcakes, cookies, breakfast pastries, and more. They also take custom cake orders for any occasion, including weddings.
  • Harmony Plant Fare ⭐️ – This is Cincinnati’s vegan “butcher” and “cheese” shop. They handcraft faux meats and dairy-free cheese alternatives and have a full deli of prepared items, like sandwiches, mac ‘n cheese, and dips. They also sell goods from other local vegan companies.
  • High Horse Vegan Pizza Co. ⭐️ – If you’re looking for greens and superfoods, move on. But if you’re craving indulgent vegan pizza and wings, then this is your spot. They even have vegan “blue cheese” for dipping!
  • Juice Bar ⭐️ – This rising dairy-free and mostly vegan chain (they do use bee products) serves juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, and savory soups.
  • Loving Hut ⭐️ – You can read more about this all-vegan fast food chain on our Loving Hut post.
  • Oliver’s Desserts – You can get an array of vegan baked treats, like cupcakes and brownies, at this local bake shop. They also take custom cake orders.
  • Rooted Juicery & Kitchen ⭐️ – This dairy-free and mostly vegan (they do use honey) cafe serves a healthy menu of smoothie bowls, savory meal bowls, desserts, and more. They have four locations in Cincinnati.
  • Simply Rolled Ice Cream – Ohio’s “original rolled ice cream shop” is on trend with two vegan ice cream bases: vanilla and chocolate. Both are made with cashew milk and coconut cream, which can be blended with various dairy-free mix-ins and garnished with various dairy-free toppings.

Cleveland

  • Café Avalaun – This certified gluten-free cafe and bakery has a varied menu for breakfast and lunch. As is, most of the menu items contain dairy, but they have options to make most dishes dairy-free. For example, they have two dairy-free crepe batter options for their popular crepes. Sandwiches can also be made dairy-free, and they usually have a vegan soup on hand. The bakery side is filled with dairy-free cookies, bars, muffins, donuts, cakes, and breads. Some paleo treats are also available.
  • Floressa Bakery – This made-to-order gluten-free bakery also bakes an array of dairy-free and vegan baked goods, including cinnamon rolls, cookies, and lemon bars. They do bake custom cakes, too. They don’t have a retail storefront, but you can order and pick up.
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – This ice cream chain is just gaining steam, but they have two locations in Ohio. See our Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams post for more dairy-free information.
  • Melt Bar & Grilled – A grilled cheese sandwich shop might send you running in the opposite direction, but this local restaurant chain has a huge vegan menu. They offer both dairy-free mozzarella and dairy-free cheddar cheese alternatives, for an additional charge. Their menu also includes an array of faux vegan meats, and of course, they have fresh-baked vegan bread and buns. They also offer several sides and salad options, and some additional menu items can be made “just dairy free” on request. Gluten-free options are also available. They have five locations in Cleveland, at last count.
  • Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream – In addition to sorbets, they scoop creamy dairy-free flavors daily at this local chain. At last check, their staples were Vegan Chocolate and Vegan Salted Caramel Pecan, each made with coconut milk and organic sugar. But they sometimes craft new or seasonal vegan flavors. Additional vegan items include: sugar cones, cake cones, chocolate sauce (not the hot fudge), peanut butter, raspberry, strawberry, peanuts, cherries, and rainbow sprinkles.
  • SomethinGood ⭐️ – Out of a hard year, comes SomethinGood. This all-vegan restaurant serves a simple menu of burgers, dairy-free shakes, and fries. They also offer chickpea nuggets, mac and “cheese,” and a few other savory items.

Columbus

  • Alchemy Cafe – This modern counter-serve cafe is mostly dairy-free, and serves many vegan and gluten-free items as labeled on their healthy all-day menu. They focus on sandwiches, toasts, smoothies, and smoothie bowls. They also have a unique coffee drink menu that uses oat milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, and almond milk for making various beverages and superfood lattes.
  • Alchemy Kitchen – This casual spot serves most of the same smoothies, smoothie bowls, toasts, sandwiches, and beverages that you can find at their Cafe location. But they also serve a small menu of burgers, burritos, and bowls for lunch and dinner, and have a more extensive breakfast menu. Many dishes are dairy-free, or can be made dairy-free, and vegan and gluten-free items are clearly labeled.
  • Bean Sprouts Cafe – Bean Sprouts plants cafés inside family destinations across the country. This one is inside the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). Their playful yet healthy menu is allergy-friendly, and boasts a few different dairy-free breakfast and lunch options for kids and adults.
  • CRMD – You can order a scoop or two of the vegan vanilla nut swirl, vegan double chocolate, or one of their dairy-free sorbets. They use coconut cream to make the creamy varieties.
  • Destination Donuts – Located inside the North Market, this all-natural donut purveyor bakes fresh throughout the day. They typically have at least a couple of vegan donut varieties available each day. The selection rotates, but they could include Butterscotch Sea Salt, Cookies & Cream, Dueling Vanilla, or Blueberry Lemon. Sometimes they also bake vegan cinnamon rolls in fun flavors like maple or citrus.
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – This ice cream chain is just gaining steam, but they have two locations in Ohio. See our Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams post for more dairy-free information.
  • Matt’s Bakery ⭐️ – This husband and wife run bakery is a kosher and dairy-free establishment (they do use eggs). Their baked goods are also nut-free, with the exception of pecan pie, which he says is baked separately. Their selection includes tons of breads, cookies, pies, pastries, and more. They also bake custom cakes for weddings and other celebrations.
  • Melt Bar & Grilled – This local restaurant chain has an entire vegan menu of grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, and more. See the Cleveland Listing for full details.
  • Pattycake Bakery ⭐️ – All of the handcrafted sweets at this quaint little bake shop are vegan. They bake cupcakes, cakes, cookies, whoopie pies, muffins and more daily. They also serve gluten-free baked goods, and take custom orders for celebration cakes and cupcakes.
  • Paulie Gee’s – This small-time pizza chain has a full vegan menu with a range of cheese alternatives. Consequently, most of their menu can be made dairy-free.
  • Portia’s Cafe ⭐️ – Thank you to Tiffany for recommending this vegan deli and  breakfast spot. They have a full coffee bar, smoothies, popular deli-style salads, and a variety of breakfast wraps, waffles, and more.
  • Simply Rolled Ice Cream – Ohio’s “original rolled ice cream shop” is on trend with two vegan ice cream bases: vanilla and chocolate. Both are made with cashew milk and coconut cream, which can be blended with various dairy-free mix-ins and garnished with various dairy-free toppings.
  • Soodles Cake Shop ⭐️ – To round out the mix, this bakery is dedicated free of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, sesame, peanuts, and all tree nuts except coconut. They can often accommodate other allergens upon request. Their best seller is Cinnamon Coffee Cake, but they offer a huge selection of breads, crusts, pies, and other sweets. They can also bake a cake for your special occasion.
  • Ted’s Montana Grill – Founded by media mogul and rancher Ted Turner, this American chain serves a meat-heavy menu with lots of dairy-free options. See our Dairy-Free Guide for Ted’s Montana Grill for more details.
  • The Old Bag of Nails Pub – A reader recommended this Irish-American restaurant. “Spoke to the kitchen manager before hand to see if it was safe. They were INCREDIBLY accommodating! The manager personally checked ingredients for the breads, buns, and rolls for any dairy so I could have a sandwich. He advised to stay away from anything breaded because they use the same fryers for dairy products. I can’t say enough how nice it was to finally go to a sit down restaurant!”
  • Woodhouse Vegan Cafe + Space ⭐️ – Their modern menus for lunch and dinner offer healthier versions of traditional favorites. They also run a full bakery and take custom orders for cakes, pies, cookies, and other pastries.
  • Zesty Juice Co. ⭐️ – I like not worrying about blenders at this dairy-free spot. In fact, everything on their menu appears to be vegan, aside from honey. They offer smoothies, juices, house-made cashew milk, bowls, and light entrees like avocado toast with vegan parmesan.

Dayton

  • Melt Bar & Grilled – This local restaurant chain has an entire vegan menu of grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, and more. See the Cleveland Listing for full details.
  • Uno Pizzeria & Grill – This national Italian-American restaurant chain has one location in this city. See our Uno Dairy-Free Menu Guide for details.
  • Wheat Penny Oven & Bar – Their menu is quite cheesy, but they offer Follow Your Heart cheese alternative (no extra charge!) and House-Made Cashew Ricotta that you can substitute on their Eggplant Parmesan or Pizzas. They also have a vegan pizza with pesto right on the menu.

Dublin

  • Zesty Juice Co. ⭐️ – I like not worrying about blenders at this dairy-free spot. In fact, everything on their menu appears to be vegan, aside from honey. They offer smoothies, juices, house-made cashew milk, bowls, and light entrees like avocado toast with vegan parmesan.

Lakewood

  • Cleveland Vegan⭐️ – Located in a suburb of Cleveland, this organic, from-scratch bakery and cafe serves exclusively vegan food. Their plant-forward menu is extensive with hot food, cold food, lattes, and smoothies. Their bakery make all types of treats, ranging from croissants to wedding cakes.
  • Ice Cream Joy – The owner said to us, “I love my vegan ones sometimes more than my regular ice creams.” You can tell! Their menu now has more creamy dairy-free vegan flavors than dairy ones, and they have vegan options for everything on the menu. You can order a vegan scoop, sundae, float, or milkshake.

Lancaster

  • Happy Goat – They run a dedicated gluten-free bakery, but also rotate in many dairy-free treats throughout the week. These items can also be special ordered, and so can custom dairy-free, vegan, or keto cakes.
  • The Well – At this gathering place, they roast their own direct trade coffee beans, source local and organic foods whenever possible, and have a wholesome menu filled with special diet options. Almond milk is on hand for drinks, their dairy-free smoothie options are expansive, and they’re always baking vegan and gluten-free desserts. You can even enjoy them a la mode with coconut ice cream. On the savory side, they serve breakfast and lunch with an array of fresh dishes with house-made sauces. Many of the options are dairy-free, gluten-free, and/or vegan.

Massillon

  • Old Carolina Barbecue Company – This is a local Ohio chain. See the details in the Akron Listing above.
  • The Root Vegan & Gluten free Cafe ⭐️ – As the name implies, everything at this restaurant is gluten-free and vegan. And their menu isn’t dainty. It includes a hearty selection of comfort foods, and they offer fresh baked goods to go and desserts, too. Their hours are limited. They’re open midday and at last check, just four days per week.

Ontario

Orrville

Oxford

  • Moon Co-op – This natural food store sells locally produced dairy-free foods, and also has their own deli and smoothie bar with vegan options clearly labeled.

Reynoldsburg

Rocky River

Shaker Heights

Solon

Stow

Strongsville

Toledo

  • Cafe Donuts – This bakery offers a full selection of vegan donuts with filled, glazed, and frosted options. They also offer soymilk and oatmilk for making dairy-free coffee drinks, and are adding savory items to their menu. They reportedly serve bagels, too.

Washington Township

  • Sinfully Gluten Free – We have been told that they offer dairy-free cheese for their pizzas, and their gluten-free baking can make dairy-free or vegan chocolate and vanilla cakes and cupcakes.

West Chester Township

  • Craft Cream Works – Most of their scoops are made with dairy, but this little shop hand churns several vegan flavors! You might spot Red Velvet, Thin Mint, Butter Pecan, Cookies & Cream or other decadent flavors. They use various bases, like coconut milk or oat milk, and usually have gluten-free options too.

Westerville

  • Zesty Juice Co. ⭐️ – I like not worrying about blenders at this dairy-free spot. In fact, everything on their menu appears to be vegan, aside from honey. They offer smoothies, juices, house-made cashew milk, bowls, and light entrees like avocado toast with vegan parmesan.

Westlake

Ohio - Recommended Restaurants, Cafes, Bakeries, Ice Cream Shops and More for Dairy-Free Diners in the Buckeye State. Most are vegan-friendly and have gluten-free options too.House made dairy-free cheeses and local vegan pastries at Harmony Plant Fare

Most Popular Chains in Ohio for Dairy-Free Diners

There are many more chains in this state, but these are the ones we recommend most for dairy-free options.

Ohio - Recommended Restaurants, Cafes, Bakeries, Ice Cream Shops and More for Dairy-Free Diners in the Buckeye State. Most are vegan-friendly and have gluten-free options too.Photo: Old Caroline Barbecue Company Hush Puppies – an Ohio chain.

This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations

We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.

Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!

This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

For More Dairy-Free Guidance, Get Go Dairy Free!

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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