For years, East End diners have perused menus of restaurants and cafes in search of a vegan option. Oftentimes the menu has fallen short of the diners specific dietary needs. That’s a thing of the past, as the Hamptons welcomes its very first vegan restaurant, the Plant Based Coffee Shop in Bridgehampton.
The Ficalora brothers, Lennon and Marley are the proprietors. The two were raised vegetarians, with limited options for where to eat, aside from the produce aisle at the grocery store, or local farm stands. “My parents made the decision to raise my brother and I vegetarian. It was my mom’s idea originally, after she had read about the health benefits of a plant-based pregnancy. A few years later, my father became plant based,” Marley said. “We would have loved to have had a place where we could have eaten anything off the menu.”
Ficalora is now vegan. Growing up in a carnivore-based society, with advertisements aplenty, especially for school Lunchables, it was very difficult to say “no” to certain meals. Today, plant-based diets are becoming more popular with consumers.
“The internet has had a large impact on changing people’s eating habits. We are becoming more aware of how food impacts not only our health but our environment and the other species we share this world with,” explained Ficalora. Aiming to make veganism both easy and affordable, he is also the founder of the “Produce Section Challenge,” a series of online videos showing viewers how purchasing groceries from only the produce section can be inexpensive and delicious.
It’s from this challenge that the menu was formed by Ficalora in partnership with Simply Sublime, another local mainstay. The menu includes items such as curried cauliflower bowls, banh mi, falafel wraps, hummus, and guacamole.
The Plant Based Coffee Shop is located inside the boutique store, also owned by the Ficaloras, Wampum on Main Street. Currently on tap is kombucha from Montauk based company, Monbrewcha, alongside Grady’s and Stumptown cold brew.
“We put our faith in the power of fruits and vegetables and their ability to heal us,” Ficalora said. “It is an exciting time in our world where more and more people are becoming aware of the impact that their actions have. We can make a positive change for not only ourselves but for our planet and the animals. In times of struggle, always choose kindness and compassion, for that is the legacy you will leave behind. We hope to see you at the Plant Based Coffee Shop soon, sipping on a delicious cold brew and eating an amazing vegan meal.”
The shop’s current plans are to stay open during summer season and to add vegan desserts in the near future.