Vegan Cafe a stepping stone to Apollo Theater

Host Sydney Aitcheson with The Fetish Band after their performance at the Social Vegan. Photo courtesy: Jazmin Mackey

The Social Vegan is one of the newest sensations in Tallahassee. While providing the city with innovative and delectable plant-based dishes, it has also found a way to spotlight local talent.

Every Thursday people are invited to showcase their talents while enjoying a variety of vegan foods and drinks. Those who perform are entered into a contest in which one winner will receive a four-day and three-night trip to New York City as well as an audition for the world-famous Apollo Theater.

This opportunity has gained traction in the Tallahassee community resulting in many performers each week. Those performing have showcased an extensive array of works including spoken word, rapping, singing, playing the flute and more. In order to determine who wins the competition, spectators cast votes and score artists based on their performances. At the end of each night, the best performers advance to become finalists for the prize. The intimate setting makes each performance engaging and the crowd often claps and sings along with performers.

A Black-owned restaurant, it has tried to bring the community together and encourage people to eat, drink and live social. The food and drinks contribute to the popularity of the contest. “The combination of good drink specials, fries and amazing entertainment keeps me coming back each week,” said frequent attendee Brianna Taylor.

The host of the weekly event is Florida A&M University student Sydney Aitcheson. “I enjoy hosting these events and being interactive with the crowd,” Aitcheson said. “Every week the turnout gets better as the competition increases. There has also been a unique arrangement of performers. Very entertaining to say the least.”

Aitcheson also has fun ways of keeping the crowd engaged. “In between acts, I ask trivia questions and winners receive a free drink,” Aitcheson said. “The crowd engagement through voting and games keeps people coming.”

One of the performances included a local band, The Fetish Band, which enjoyed the opportunity to compete. In regard to their experience the group’s bassist, Jake Gilbert, said, “The Social Vegan was filled with friendly staff, great food, and the environment was unlike other small restaurants. You really got a sense of care and family from everyone.”

The band received lots of positive feedback from the crowd and Gilbert said, “We would love to come back to perform. Whether it be to better our chances at the Apollo or just to have a bit of fun, The Social Vegan is our next stop for regular gigs one-hundred percent.”

If you’re interested in performing email or text 718.603.1316 to sign up and secure your time slot.

For more information about Social Vegan, visit: