4 stars for the owner, the concept, and the service. Everything about this place was top notch for a low key local eatery. The problem is that it exposes everything that is wrong about the vegan movement: the clientele were uppity hipsters desperate to differentiate themselves, making their dining choices antithetical as they puff on cigarettes by the front door. The other issue is that it exposes the problem with vegetarian and vegan cuisine - to come of age, it needs to be itself and stop trying to mimic meaty food. The choice of eating veggie / vegan stems from many a philosophy - religion, ethical sustainability, etc, and often times is largely informed by the need or desire to be healthy. This simply exposes the insecurity of veganism, and proves that people who choose to eat a limiting palette of options from this cradle of health can eat just as unhealthily and poorly as those who choose to eat meats and traditional soul foods. When you fry everything, and then masquerade everything with spices, etc... to *my* personal, uninformed, confused mind - it sort of defeats the purpose. There's eating healthy and ethically for personal, spiritual, or economic reasons.... then there is a hipster scene of duality, hypocrisy, and shallow misinformation.
The owner of this establishment has done everything right. She is a consummate professional, kind and jolly, friendly and community minded. The FOOD!!! The fried tofu barbecue is out of sight. The macaroni and cheese is vegan and MIND BLOWING. Black eyed peas are the yum. The fried dishes seemed like proper po boys, and the atmosphere and ambiance is fun and low key (park benches with jazz greats stenciled all about). Incredible service, incredible concept, but the clientele just expose it. Maybe I am an old grump, but I just rather have the same unhealthy food with a little bit of protein and a hell of a lot less desperate steampunk / goth / punk / 80's throwback hipster piquant. It doesn't seem like community as much as a lonely circus.
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