There's a premium on great vegan restaurants in New York City, so when we lose one, we feel it deeply. Thankfully, one of the most beloved veg-focused spots is making a comeback: after shuttering its original Harlem location after nine years on April 1, Seasoned Vegan has reopened with a brand-new concept down in the East Village.
Occupying a smaller space at 128 Second Avenue near St. Marks Place, mother-and-son restaurateurs Brenda “Chef B” Beener and Aaron Beener relaunched the restaurant as Seasoned Vegan Real Quick in late August, a quick service takeout and delivery spot that retools some of their most popular dishes as sandwiches.
On the newfangled, New Orleans-inspired menu, find former Seasoned Vegan favorites like the signature burdock root "crawfish," here serving as the fried "protein" in a pretzel-bun po-boy with remoulade sauce and grilled in a barbecue "craw" sandwich smothered in "bayou BBQ" sauce. Vegan soy nuggets will be available a la carte or piled high on a burger bun. Rounding out the menu are sides like shoestring fries tossed with Cajun seasoning, sodas such as fair-trade Maine Root options, and housemade organic desserts, including salted-pecan cookies, beet-root cupcakes and a raw cheesecake made from cashews, walnuts and dates.
There are several combo options available, in case you want to create a bespoke Happy Meal of sorts for yourself, such as the "Ol' Hungry Self," which gets you the choice of any sandwich, soy nuggets or fried "craw," and fries for $22.50.
Seasoned Vegan's meat-free reworkings of classic Cajun flavored drew plenty of celebrity fans over the near-decade it was open uptown, from Stevie Wonder to India Arie to Colin Kaepernick. The concept first started when Brenda Beener began serving vegan baked goods out of a local bakery in 2010; when her son Aaron came on as a partner, they opened the restaurant, Harlem's first full-service vegan eatery, in 2014. The pivot to takeout and delivery first happened, as with most restaurants, during the pandemic.