The Organic Grill, a critically-acclaimed 18-year-old vegetarian restaurant in New York City’s East Village neighborhood, has officially made the switch to a vegan menu. Known for its meat-free comfort food, The Organic Grill has received recognition for its vegan dishes and was voted as having one of the top nine veggie burgers in NYC.
While the restaurant made the official announcement last week in an Instagram post, locals have reported that it has been quietly working towards removing fish, eggs, and dairy cheese from its comfort food-focused menu for months. In March, one diner disclosed in an online local vegan group that all animal products, except for eggs at brunch, had been removed from the menu.
Eggs proved to be the biggest challenge for the restaurant to replace, as the owner wanted to find a soy-free option for customers. The restaurant eventually confirmed its plans to go vegan in a Facebook announcement: “We just want to create food that we are passionate about. And it just happened [sic] we are happy when we make vegan food. For the last six months, we have been working very hard on perfecting the menu and adding new dishes.”
The announcement was received positively by fans of the newly vegan New York City restaurant, who praised the decision to finally cut out animal products. The new vegan menu has been a hit with vegan celebrities like former football player David Carter (The 300-Pound Vegan), Cro-Mags vocalist, author, and vegan triathlete John Joseph, and vegan mixed martial artist Jake Shields.
The once-vegetarian Organic Grill is not the only restaurant to go vegan in recent years. Delice and Sarrasin, a New York City-based French restaurant located in the West Village, switched from vegetarian to vegan in 2016. Likewise, Black Flamingo, a vegetarian New York City bar specializing in Mexican food, quietly replaced dairy cheese with vegan cheese earlier this year, save for one cocktail containing honey. The switch isn’t happening with vegetarian restaurants alone. Late last year, Beelman’s, a Los Angeles-based gastropub, revamped its meat-heavy menu to be vegan.
While it seems that Organic Grill is now serving exclusively vegan comfort food for ethical reasons, research has shown that many restaurants benefit financially from going plant-based. According to New York-based restaurant consulting firm Veganizer, which helps vegetarian and omnivorous restaurants go plant-based, 17 of its 22 clients experienced growth in sales and social media followers, with some experiencing a sales increase as high as 1,000 percent.
The success of the newly vegan restaurants is likely due to the growing demand for plant-based food. No longer considered niche, vegan food has been embraced by vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike in recent years. Last year, international food and restaurant consultant group, Baum + Whiteman, identified vegan food as one of the top “mega-trends” of 2018.
Image Credit: The Organic Grill