Vegan Spots Flourish in Chelsea

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A handful of eateries in the neighborhood thrive with vegan-only menus


  • The black-eyed pea cake at Blossom

  • Red velvet cupcakes from Blossom Bakery

  • Heirloom Tomato Caprese from Blossom

  • The hummus avocado wrap from Terri

Vegan Eateries Downtown

Angelica Kitchen - 300 E. 12th St. between 1st & 2nd avenues

Beyond Sushi - 229 E. 14th St. between 2nd & 3rd avenues

Caravan of Dreams - 405 E. 6th St. between Avenue A & 1st Ave.

Quintessence - 263 E. 10th St. between Avenue A & 1st Ave.

Rockin’ Raw - 171 Sullivan St., north of Houston

Sacred Chow - 227 Sullivan St. between Bleecker & West 3rd streets

Within a span of a few blocks in Chelsea, one can savor wild mushroom risotto, zucchini rollatini, a chocolate-peanut butter shake, and Betterfinger bar (yes, a vegan Butterfinger) at one of the four all-vegan eateries only blocks apart in Chelsea.

Blossom (187 Ninth Avenue between 21st and 22nd streets) will be celebrating its tenth anniversary in October. “The goal was to offer delicious vegan food in a chic setting, and to offer people the idea of considering a vegan lifestyle,” said co-owner Pamela Elizabeth. Elizabeth counts the seitan scallopini, served in a lemon caper sauce with truffle mashed potatoes and sauteed kale, and tiramisu as her favorites.

On a recent Saturday during brunch hours, Ben Razavi and Donzelle Richardson enjoyed tofu florentine and the country breakfast (tofu scramble, French toast, sausage, and salad). Razavi, who eats a gluten-free, vegetarian diet, is strongly considering a vegan diet and said “going to places like this helps.” Ben Clark, who came from Brooklyn, called Blossom’s tofu BLT “the best in the city.”

Blossom Du Jour (259 West 23rd St. between 7th & 8th avenues) is the “grab and go” sibling of Blossom, and outposts blanket Chelsea, midtown and the Upper West Side.

“Du Jour was created out of a need for vegan quick serve and grab-and-go cafes,” Elizabeth said. Especially in New York, where so many health-conscious people reside and work, healthy, fast food that is free of animal products needed to be available.”

Beth Greenfield and her six-year-old daughter Lula were recently lunching on the un-chicken avocado wrap and a Skyscraper (soy burger with bacon, non-dairy cheese, onion rings, lettuce, tomato and special sauce). “She’d been thinking of the Skyscraper for a long time,” Greenfield said about her daughter’s sandwich of choice. She said she likes going to all-vegan restaurants because “it’s so exciting to be able to order anything on the menu.”

Other menu favorites include the karmic kale wrap, and chickpea quinoa and naked burrito salads.

Five years ago this month, Terri (60 West 23rd St., near 6th Ave.) opened. “I wanted to show how eating a healthier diet didn’t need to be a sacrifice,” said owner Craig Cochran. “Healthy food should not be a luxury but accessible and affordable to everyone.”

MacKenzie Ogrodnick, who isn’t vegetarian or vegan, goes to Terri’s at least weekly and calls the green power smoothie her “all-time fave.” She also loves the hummus avocado and breakfast scramble wraps. Friends Daniela Flores, Caitlin Bailey, and Doug Sklar were dining there on a recent Saturday. First-timer and non-vegetarian Flores enjoyed the “very savory” Thai chicken wrap, while Sklar, who describes himself as “almost vegan” said that the quesadilla is “a little spicy but tastes great.” Baily, who’s vegetarian, said, “the Thanksgiving sandwich tastes just like ‘real’ turkey, but this way is much friendlier.”

Blossom Bakery (174 Ninth Ave. between 20th and 21st streets) re-opened for retail this past fall. Along with the usual cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pies, the bakery recently started selling the aforementioned Betterfinger. Head baker Quinn Ventura calls it her favorite item to make, while noting the chocolate-chocolate cake as her favorite to eat. Visiting from New Jersey, Mike and Casey Easterling, along with their 20-month-old son Noel, picked up hot chocolate, red velvet cake and a harvest cookie for dessert after having brunch at Blossom across the street. “Noel loves the French toast and we talk about the tofu scramble all the time. We love it,” Casey said.

In 2014, New York was named by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as the Most-Vegan Friendly City, in part for the great influx of vegetarian and all-vegan restaurants. “It’s encouraging to see the increase of vegan places in the city,” said Terri’s general manager, Tomer Versano.

Blossom’s Elizabeth said she’s happy to see an increase in the number of vegan eateries. “I think it’s great, and it’s of course mirroring what people want.”

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