What started as a grassroots vegan movement in Providence has now grown to encompass restaurants across the state. PVD Vegan Restaurant Week – which is technically two weeks – is the brainchild of Chris Belanger and wife Karen Krinsky who have more than 50 years of eating plant-based between the two of them. They’re also owners of the popular Like No Udder vegan ice creamery.
Inspiration struck when Belanger learned about vegan chef competitions sprouting up in other regions and wondered why Rhode Island didn’t have one. “I’m not really into competitions and felt that such a program was too complex to manage; I really wanted to make it about the vegan food rather than me and the restaurants essentially managing a popularity contest.” With “Restaurant Weeks” a widespread concept, he took a page from other models but distilled the idea into something simpler and more affordable for participating restaurants.
Participation has spread around the East Bay with places like Basil & Bunny and Foglia in Bristol and Sprout and Lentil in Middletown curating plant-based specials that will be posted online closer to the date. Thrive Tribe Cafe in Barrington is getting in on the fun, too, presenting a “BLT” swapping bacon for locally made spicy seitan, served on multigrain toast with fresh greens, avocado mash, and chipotle mayo. They’ll also be serving arepas – grilled cornmeal cakes – topped with BBQ seitan and a vegan IPA cheddar sauce, along with two types of empanadas.
Now in year four, PVD Vegan Restaurant Weeks takes place October 28 through November 6 (straddling November 1, which is World Vegan Day) and welcomes five new locations. VegRestaurantWeek.com
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