This year, for the very first time, PVD will experience Vegan Restaurant Week — a weeklong celebration of the best vegan cuisine in the area. With tons of participating restaurants and eateries, PVD Vegan Restaurant Week is being kicked off with a bang.
I caught up with the creator and organizer of PVD Vegan Restaurant Week (VRW), Chris Belanger, and he gave me the rundown. Husband and wife duo Belanger and Karen Krinsky own the vegan ice cream truck/shop Like No Udder.
“PVD VRW is a week-long celebration of vegan dining here in PVD and RI,” Belanger explained. “We have 30 restaurants committed to a variety of special offerings for the week of November 1 – 7. November 1 is World Vegan Day, a fitting day to start! Participating restaurants are offering combos, multi-course meals, discounts and specially crafted vegan dishes for the week.”
Belanger’s aim is to show restaurants in the area that there’s a serious demand for creative vegan options, but also to give the local vegan (and vegan-friendly) community more options.
“There are a handful of VRW’s around the country. Earlier this summer, I was at the Vegan Summerfest in Johnstown, Penn, where I met with organizers of similar events. Having owned Like No Udder for 10 years, we’ve created a loyal following and have found that we are one of a handful of unofficial leaders in the local community — we use this position and our following to help other vegan businesses grow.”
Belanger is insistent on inclusion and welcomes all parts of the culinary scene. “I’ve made it fairly easy for places to become involved. As far as the restaurants go, I’ve let this grow organically, by word of mouth. Lots of places have jumped in with gusto — it’s amazing the creativity our local chefs have! As with virtually anything else, time is the challenge. Diners can expect menus, at all price points, across the spectrum — from grab and go to snacks, pub food, casual dining and high-end gourmet experiences. A variety of cultures are also represented — Japanese, Indian, Jamaican, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Italian, Mexican, Greek, American and more.”
Local vegan and vegetarian mainstays like Plant City, Garden Grille and The Grange will be taking part. But you’ll also see Kabob and Curry, Rebelle Artisan Bagels, Wara Wara, AS220 and many more restaurants you may not expect jumping onboard.
Belanger could not be more excited about this new step for plant-based eating, and insists that the rising culture of veganism in PVD is in it for the long haul. “Veganism is here to stay, and Providence is firmly pinned on the vegan map. Like No Udder was the world’s first vegan ice cream truck, attracting people to the city. The recently opened Plant City is the world’s first vegan food hall — again, attracting people to the city. Yes, veganism is kind of having its day, but basic healthy and compassionate living and eating is not a fad.”
More information about PVD Vegan Restaurant Week can be found at vegrestaurantweek.com