Popular Manhattan healthy dining destination GustOrganics is shaking up its menu in a huge way this year: it’s going vegan.
The restaurant is New York City’s only certified organic eatery (meaning the owners literally have a third party come in at least once a year to verify their all-organic foods and practices), and it previously served lots of organic meat and dairy products alongside veggie options.
But GustOrganics partner Kiki Adami says as the environmental impact of eating animal products has become more clear over the past few years, the team began questioning its menu. “We have a dual mission—being green and providing the healthiest food possible,” she says. “If you’re a green restaurant, first and foremost, you’re not being true to your mission if you’re serving something that has the largest carbon and water footprint.”
So the restaurant began transitioning the menu to more vegan options, and even though it happened slowly, Adami says they experienced quite a bit of backlash from regular customers. So much so that when they finalized the new menu a few weeks ago, they decided to leave three popular meat dishes (alongside 51 vegan options), because they felt that they couldn’t afford to lose the revenue from those popular items. “We’ve lost a lot of money on this,” she admits.
Adami is confident the transition will get easier, especially as more vegan enthusiasts find out about the change. She even flew in a famous raw and vegan chef from Argentina to train the kitchen staff, and they’re now whipping up dishes like seaweed “crab” cakes with sprouted pumpkin seeds and almonds and quinoa linguini topped with cashew alfredo sauce and tomato-infused seitan.
“We’ve had some people telling us that this was the best menu they’ve seen at Gustorganics in seven years,” she says. Paleo eaters will just have to get their organic meatloaf elsewhere. —Lisa Elaine Held
GustOrganics, 519 Sixth Ave., at 14th St., West Village, www.gustorganics.com
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