A cultural shift has happened in Baton Rouge, L.A., which welcomed Vegan Friendly Foods to the capital area on December 1st. With an influx of individuals aspiring to live a healthier life, a vegan restaurant was a nice addition to the plethora of meat heavy menus to be found in this southern city. Deduct the meat and dairy and you have southern staples transformed into authentic healthy Louisiana comfort food.
“It’s more than a restaurant”, says Cornelius Roy – chef and co-owner of Vegan Friendly Foods – “It is an experience, a place where you can get an education and great quality food.”
photo courtesy of Moon Muhammad
According to the numbers, Cornelius is proving that statement to be true. Vegan Friendly Foods, a soul food restaurant, greeted an astonishing 600 patrons to their soft opening on November 21st and more than 1300 anxious customers have been serviced during their first month of operation.
Louisiana, known for crawfish, gumbo and etouffee, is changing the narrative on how southerners like to eat. Vegan Friendly Foods is making the switch easy, however, with menu items such as jambalaya, red beans, and vegan king cake. Long gone are the days where eating healthy is synonymous to bland. Matter of fact, that is Cornelius’ entire point:
“It is going to be flavor that they aren’t expecting” says Cornelius Roy. “What people will learn is that you can eat vegan and it will still be seasoned … red beans will still be tasty without the meat that is potentially killing you.”
With documentaries such as What the Health, Cowspiracy, and Earthling’s obtaining a massive following within the past two years, it is a safe bet to say this restaurant will not be short lived.
photo courtesy of Vegan Friendly Foods
Vegan Friendly Foods has had an impressive opening, especially for a health restaurant in the middle of the south. What might be even more impressing, however, is the fact that this restaurant is owned and operated by a Black family who celebrates and encourages the vegan lifestyle – proving that food for the soul does not need to damage the body.
“I think people underestimate the desire of people like us to eat like this” states Cornelius. “The stereotypes that are perpetuated in movies or TV shows that show us at BBQ’s and cookouts … eating that ingrained slave food … our people have gotten behind this business more than anyone else … We are in this together. We are more than what we are being portrayed.”
Vegan Friendly Foods is open Tue – Sun 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
4608 Bennington Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
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