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New York’s Harlem neighborhood, which has been plagued by high rates of obesity and diabetes may see its first full-service vegan restaurant, thanks to Chef Brenda Beener and her son Aaron. They plan to to open Seasoned Vegan, a 1,800 square-feet restaurant occupying two levels with an upscale, 30-seat restaurant above a ground-floor lounge offering smoothies and alcohol.
“One of our goals quite simply is to increase longevity and improve the health of the neighborhood we love,” Brenda Beener, 57, the chef, founder and co-owner told the New York Daily News.
“Our neighborhood has sometimes been called a food desert because we just don’t have enough healthy choices,” said Thomas Lunke, director of planning at the Harlem Community Development Corp.
The Beeners expect to spend $250,000 to outfit the restaurant, cover rent and operating expenses for a year and are seeking a bank loan which requires 20% down payment, or $50,000.
They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project and are aiming to raise at least $20,000 through it.
As the Kickstarter page describes, “Seasoned Vegan will be a place where students, parents and single professionals of all ages can come and enjoy a plate infused with all the motherly love you would expect from a home cooked meal. It will be a place where all people concerned about eating well can share a meal with other progressive minds, while enjoying the comfort of local artists. We provide a place where students can come and study during their time off while enjoying a smoothie or cupcake, a place where families can have dinner and a place where people’s perspectives of vegan food are expanded to unimaginable heights.”
The owners plan to connect with outreach programs in local schools and hold cooking and entrepreneurial lessons for students in the restaurant. All the products, produce and even seasonings will be organic and purchased from local farmers. They also plan to have a completely green kitchen.
Their Kickstarter campaign is offering incentives for backers within and outside New York City so click here to learn more about how you can back this great project and help bring much-needed change to a historic neighborhood of New York City.