Summer 2017 was nothing short of amazing for New Yorkers trying to find vegan-friendly and environmentally-responsible fast-casual dining options.
As the third most vegan-friendly city in the United States, New York City is proving to be a safe haven for both plant-based restaurants and sustainable practices. Recently, a couple of restaurants have cropped up in an effort to convince this fast-paced city that cruelty-free, fast-casual dining can be delicious as well as environmentally responsible.
First up, TYME.
Restaurateur Phil Winser, the mind behind the trendy Lower East Side restaurant The Fat Radish teamed up with a former Burger King executive Felipe Hallow to open a new vegan-friendly and sustainable fast food company called TYME.
Launched early summer 2017, TYME is a fast-food restaurant that seeks to change the way Americans define and consume fast-casual food. TYME offers a broad range of vegan-friendly dining options in reusable plastic jars. Mimicking the Pinterest-obsessed phenomena of mason jar lunches, TYME has created a series of portable dining options that are full of whole grains, vegetables, and sauces. The jars are $10.00 each and come in a range of flavors including Soba, Carrot Hummus, Falafel, Italian, and more.
If the idea of using a plastic container seems to be the opposite of practicing sustainability, think again. TYME offers a $1.00 off incentive for customers who return their plastic jars so TYME can reuse them. This restaurant also composts the biodegradable forks and leftover food, so customers are encouraged to return these items to the restaurant as well.
However, TYME is not the only restaurant in New York City espousing both the vegan and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
Nestled in the Murray Hill neighborhood of midtown Manhattan, Local Leaf is a vegan-friendly and locally sourced restaurant committed to minimizing waste.
Local Leaf achieves this by purchasing second-tier produce from local farms and repurposing fruit and vegetable trim from Local Leaf’s kitchen in creative ways when creating house-made salad dressings, juices, and infused beverages. This restaurant also donates unsold food to area charities at the end of each business day. Local Leaf only partners with companies that uphold reputable standards such as paying workers a living wage and making environmentally conscious decisions.
Let’s keep putting pressure on the restaurant industry to embrace sustainability as a part of the fast-food dining culture. When checking out new restaurants, do not be afraid to inquire about their waste minimization strategy. If they do not participate, try to inform them of the environmental benefits of reducing waste. If they do take steps to eliminate material and food waste, be sure to thank them for their dedication and spread the word about their practices!
What is your favorite environmentally-responsible fast-casual restaurant?
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