Final summer time, Belse opened as the biggest vegan restaurant in New York Metropolis historical past on the Bowery, the traditionally tough stretch simply north of Chinatown. Belse was about 5 instances bigger than the town’s common vegan restaurant with seating for practically 200—the capability of a subway automobile.
In a metropolis the place area could be very tight, Belse opened with a singular problem: an excessive amount of area. “We’re too huge to fail,” Belse proprietor Steve Bellamy informed VegNews a number of months after opening, when the problem of filling tons of of seats per day was changing into clear.
As a devoted vegan trying to save animals one meal at a time, Bellamy might by no means think about a public defeat for the town’s largest vegan institution. It was a high-visibility vegan enterprise that wanted a profitable consequence.
Belse rapidly grew to become a fixture within the NYC vegan neighborhood, changing into the go-to spot for internet hosting native vegan occasions. The meals was scrumptious. Nevertheless, too a lot of these seats remained empty.
On January 1, Belse abruptly introduced that it was closing—with a giant mission-preserving shock: Spicy Moon, one of many metropolis’s most-loved vegan franchises, would take over the huge area.
NYC’s largest vegan restaurant will get spicier
This week, Spicy Moon lands on the Bowery, opening its third location within the metropolis. It brings a longtime buyer base that has been packing its first two areas for years, and continues the restaurant’s penchant for regular, however important, development.
Spicy Moon first opened in 2019 on East sixth Road, with roughly 20 very tightly-packed seats and a tiny closet-sized kitchen. In early 2020, proper because the pandemic was hitting, Spicy Moon opened a Greenwich Village location greater than triple the dimensions of the unique. And this week, opening at 265 Bowery, it greater than triples that Greenwich Village location, changing into the biggest vegan restaurant in NYC.
Spicy Moon’s plant-based Szechuan delicacies is already a large hit with vegans and non-vegans alike. The menu provides spicy dan dan noodles with vegan beef, wontons in chili oil, crispy kung pao tofu, shiitake buns, vegan duck, crabless rangoon, and extra. The dishes are daring, distinctive, and made with absolutely plant-based components. That implies that even the “honey” on the menu is a vegan, bee-sparing different.
Spicy Moon is bringing that beloved menu to the Bowery, with the addition of some colourful new cocktails. The native chain has additionally saved the huge brewing gear left by earlier occupants, and never only for ornament. In coming months, count on Szechuan-flavored beers to hit the menu, brewed proper in-house.
As soon as operational, which means that Spicy Moon is not going to solely be NYC’s largest vegan restaurant but in addition the town’s solely 100-percent vegan brewpub.
Vibrant pink animal activism
The design of the area echoes the daring flavors on the menu. The newly painted bright-pink facade stands out from a number of blocks away. Passersby inevitably flip and touch upon the storefront, which is adorned in pro-animal murals.
Spicy Moon on the Bowery is opening with a visible bang—proper in tune with the punk rock historical past of the neighborhood.
A number of the native love for Spicy Moon stems from the distinctive manner it has brazenly embraced the animal rights neighborhood: posting anti-fur indicators, hiring vegan artists to color animal-rights murals, supporting native sanctuaries, and even donating a bullhorn to activists for animal-rights marches. That daring moral stance continues within the new area, the place a large “Defend Animals” quote greets all guests contained in the entrance door.
The authors of that quote—activists Len Goldberg and Ashley Mahoney—traveled all the way in which from Canada to get pleasure from a preview of the brand new restaurant.
“I really like being a part of Spicy Moon’s extraordinary work to attain animal freedom,” Goldberg tells VegNews. “It isn’t simply the tastiest restaurant ever, it’s an traditionally influential animal liberation shrine.”
For this huge area to be financially sustainable, the restaurant will even need to entice hundreds of non-vegan clients to get pleasure from a flavorful, plant-based meal. Spicy Moon hopes to make this simpler by using the restaurant area in artistic methods.
Throughout the daytime, the bar will morph right into a vegan café providing pastries and Szechuan-flavored espresso. It additionally plans to host occasions within the giant private-dining area downstairs (which features a yard).
To assist construct an area that everybody in the neighborhood can get pleasure from, a stage has already been erected to welcome native musicians, comedians, and artists.