What Happens When a Chef Adds Kale to Burgers, Cocktails, and Ice Cream

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vegan restaurants NYCYes, there's a token kale salad at By Chloe, but you can also get your daily dose of the trendiest leafy green by ordering a Whisky BBQ portobello mushroom-seitan burger, a Kale-Matcha Mojito, or dairy-free Kale Cookies + Cream ice cream.

More reading: 11 innovative healthy recipes that make kale exciting again

The fast casual vegan spot opened in New York City's Greenwich Village on July 28, and while it's the first restaurant from chef Chloe Coscarelli, the menu is a manifestation of the meat-free comfort food philosophy she's been sharing for years via best-selling cookbooks like Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen and Chloe's Vegan Desserts.

"What I’m really trying to do is show people that vegan food is something you can eat every day," Coscarelli says, "and you can get it at an affordable price point, and it can taste just as good [as non-vegan food]."

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Bright and cheery digs

You'll spot By Chloe right away. Its facade is a cheery ray of brightness with a black-and-white striped awning, bright white walls, shiny yellow outdoor seating, and greenery on an otherwise gritty stretch of Bleecker Street, at MacDougal.

Inside, the decor is even more playful and super welcoming, with pops of color everywhere, swings for hanging around while you wait for your food, a big communal table, and lots of plants. "Were really trying to create a mood in here, which I think is overlooked in a lot of fast casual," Coscarelli says.

More Reading: 8 New York City spots that transform lunch at your desk

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On the menu

You'll feel it whether you stop in to grab a cold-pressed green juice dubbed The Giving Tree ($9.95) and Matcha Kelp Noodles ($5.95) from the prepared foods case to go, or order Merry Berry Sangrias ($10) and Quinoa Taco Salads ($10.95) with your BFF and stay for dinner.

Whatever you eat, it'll be so far removed from the dressed-up, preciously plated veggies or "just leave out the meat" approaches most common to vegan cuisine. "It's really hearty," Coscarelli says, and she's not just towing the usual "meat-eaters will love it too!" line.

More reading: The first vegan food delivery service is here (and we tried it)

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I tried the Guac Burger ($9.95) made with a black bean-quinoa-sweet potato patty, chipotle aioli, corn salsa, and guacamole, and juice dripped all over my hands as I bit into the meaty layers. The Mac N' Cheese ($4.95, $8.95), made with sweet potato "cheese" sauce and topped with shiitake "bacon" was heavenly, as were the vegan (but definitely not sugar-free) chocolate chip cookies.

But lest you think By Chloe will upset your healthy diet, a lot of the heft is a happy vegetable illusion. The aforementioned "bacon," for example, is made of superfood mushrooms, and there are lots of lighter options like The Greek salad ($9.95) and Green Hummus ($2.50). Oh, and did we mention all of the kale? —Lisa Elaine Held

By Chloe, 185 Bleecker St., at MacDougal St., Greenwich Village, New York, NY, 10012, (212) 290-8000, www.bychefchloe.com

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(Photos: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good)

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