A vegan restaurant would not have a hard time getting kosher certification. However, as long as there is no such certification one should not eat there.
There are many reasons why a strictly vegan establishment requires kosher certification. Here are a few of them:
- It is possible for a minute quantity of animal products to be included in a vegan-certified food. According to the Vegan Society, an outfit which licenses vegan foods, "vegan products must, as far as is possible and practical, be entirely free from animal involvement." Furthermore they state, "Animal products are sometimes used in instances that are not immediately obvious."
- All utensils used to prepare kosher food, as well as countertops, ovens, etc., must be kosher. Meaning, if they were previously used for non-kosher foods, they must be koshered before being used for kosher food preparation.
- Wine and grape juice are not kosher unless they are certified kosher (see Wine and Grape Products). Even if the restaurant doesn't have a wine list, many dishes include wine or grape juice in their ingredients.
- Certain foods must be cooked or baked by a Jew in order to be kosher (see Baked and Cooked Foods).
To repeat, however, it is certainly much easier for a vegan eatery to receive and maintain kosher certification. If your neighborhood has a kosher consumer base, perhaps ask the restaurant management to consider this not-so-difficult option which could increase its clientele.
Rabbi Eliezer Posner