Vegan-friendly restaurants are quietly expanding through New York City, on top of long-standing luncheonettes and temple canteens. Even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, these great joints will hit the spot.
We were excited to hear that Cafe Blossom, a Chelsea staple since 2005, not only opened a restaurant on Carmine Street in the West Village, but they are also about to reopen a restaurant on the Upper West Side next month, which will give them a total of five vegan restaurants in the city. Not all the locations are the same though, with the flagship Chelsea location serving a more intimate experience, Blossom on Carmine for small plates, V-Note on the Upper East for bistro style and Cafe Blossom for “stylish and casual dining.”
Sacred Chow began life in 1995 by a Legal Aid Lawyer turned restauranteur. Originally opening as a take-out deli in the West Village, great reviews right from the very beginning and a loyal fan base propelled them to this small but comfortable space on Sullivan Street with room for seating. Their logo: a meditating cow. This tiny restaurant is said to be “serious vegan.”
Yes, there is even vegan sushi! Husband and wife team Guy and Tali Vaknin own and operate Beyond Sushi at two locations – Union Square and an outpost in the Chelsea Market called The Green Roll. They are well known for combining unconventional pairing of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, adorned with their original sauces.
Pure Food and Wine opened its doors in 2004, a block away from Union Square on Irving Place. It was founded by Sarma Melngailis of the well known brand One Lucky Duck chain of juice bars and online vegan products. There are no ovens in their kitchen. All dishes are prepared in blenders and dehydrators and beautifully presented.
An interesting history is attached to the upscale vegan restaurant Candle 79. It began in the summer of 1984 when Bart Potenza purchased Sunny’s health food store. The previous owner had a custom of lighting candles every night to bless his establishment and so that shop on Third Avenue was renamed the Candle Cafe by Bart and his partner Joy Pierson. Their wish to expand was answered by the winning of a take-five lottery, giving them $53,000, and in 2003 the upscale restaurant Candle 79 on East 79th Street was born.
Angelica Kitchen is an old East Village favorite, having opened their doors in 1976 at 300 East 12th Street. The menu is split between American and Asian inspired with many luscious recipes in their cookbook The Angelica Home Kitchen. Thanks to Gothamist, here is their vegan cornbread recipe – with surprising ingredients. No reservations and cash only here.
We’re big fans of these tiny vegan counters, of which there are three locations in Manhattan. Blossom du Jour is afraid to brand itself as “Shrewd Fast Food,” there are always fun slogans in the locations. For example, “Find your mind and your ass will follow,” and “What time is it? It’s time for Kale.” We swear by the Un-Chicken Avocado Griller. So good, we might order one right now. Here’s a peek at their menu.
We’re quite sure there are many more out there waiting to be explored. We’d love to hear about your favorites. Many of these are also gluten-free and certified kosher.
Get in touch with the author @AFineLyne
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