The 28-year-old restaurant consultant wants to “veganize” every restaurant in New York City, and she’s setting her sights on Bleecker Street. The fact that the Greenwich Village stretch is home to meaty mainstays like JG Melon, Faicco’s and Murray’s Cheese Shop doesn’t deter her.
“I want the whole street to be a vegan mecca,” says the Hoboken, NJ, resident and adamant vegan of 10 years. “Like, the Great White Way is where all the Broadway shows are — I want this to be the Great Vegan Way.”
Adami launched her company, Veganizer, in 2015 with the goal of converting restaurants all over the city to a menu in which half the options are meat- and dairy-free. She has also convinced several restaurants around the city to hold vegan pop-up nights, including Pagani, on Bleecker Street. This year, she’s decided to focus her efforts on Bleecker because the thoroughfare is home to a location of the constantly packed vegan restaurant and bakery By Chloe (185 Bleecker St.). She believes that when restaurant owners see By Chloe’s success, they’ll want to replicate it with similarly plant-based options.
“I have no doubt in my mind that the seed has been planted,” says Adami, who hasn’t eaten animal products in a decade and gave up wearing leather six years ago.
But most restaurateurs on her target block highly doubt she’ll be able to get a hand on their meatballs.
“We’ve been open for 40 years, and people come from all over to have the paella,” says Cafe Español owner Irene Becerril. “We cannot change the menu.”
Restaurantgoers on the street are similarly protective of the dishes they know and love. For Money Sealy, it’s her favorite 50-cent wings at dive bar Wicked Willy’s (149 Bleecker St.).
“To turn a whole street vegan is absurd,” says Sealy, a 27-year-old Upper West Sider. “Variety is what makes the Village.”
Adami, a former cruise director, broke into the restaurant business working at GustOrganics, a Greenwich Village restaurant about 10 blocks north of Bleecker. When it opened in 2008, Gust catered to the paleo crowd — those who eat only meat, nuts, vegetables and seeds. Adami started working there as a waitress in 2010, then stepped in as a manager and turned the menu entirely vegan in 2015.
“I started to feel guilty, knowing that I was paying my rent from a company that was not really in line with sustainability,” she says.Romagna now offers a vegan bolognese dish.
The restaurant’s paleo regulars revolted. Hate mail and bad Yelp reviews poured in, and the eatery’s investors sued the restaurant for alienating its original clientele.
“This is a case of imposing your own personal views on Gust’s devoted clientele,” one commenter on Yelp wrote.
The lawsuit eventually was dropped, but the legal fees cost Gust and it closed in 2015. At the time, Adami said the restaurant wasn’t profitable, but now she says it was.
While most would take this failure as a sign from the meat gods, Adami ran the other way: “I just said, ‘You know what? Screw you guys — I’m going to veganize another restaurant.’”
And so her crusade began. Adami approaches restaurants with the promise of money, keeping her real intentions hidden at first.
“I don’t even use the word vegan. I talk money, I talk p.r., I talk business and I talk market trends,” she says. “I also wear a really cute outfit when I go to meet the owner … You use whatever tools you have — you flirt, you giggle, you laugh at them.”
Not going get into the long list of things that infuriate me about this woman. Not going to rant about the vegan trend, or the absolute LUNACY in wanting every restaurant to convert half of their menu to vegan. Nor am I going to pick the low hanging fruit and call her a hypocrite for saying she doesn’t use the word “vegan” 4 paragraphs after shes quoted with it. No. It’s all about this lady’s shirt, and the fake news its been spewing all over the village. Sorry Kiki, but Clarke Kent isn’t a vegan. I don’t know how else to put it . It’s just…. wrong. Like “The earth is flat”, “Evolution doesn’t exist”, and “global warming is a farce” wrong.
What infuriates me the most is how bold face this lie is. Look, I’m not into comic books what so ever. Superhero movies, Marvel, DC… I can take them or leave them. I just have the pretty basic knowledge that any 27 year old American would have about Superman. But when I saw that shirt, a little light bulb went off in my head. It just couldn’t be true. The G.O.A.T in super hero history, the iconic machismo that has been synonymous with American comics and cinema for the last six or seven decades… is a god-damned vegan? He got faster than a speeding bullet by eating kale and tofu? It just didn’t sit right. It was like when Brent Musberger said he hadn’t gambled on a game since the 70’s or when JR Smith said he has never drank Hennessy. The mind just jumps straight from the reasoning department over to “Nope, no way”. Regardless I said I wasn’t big into superheros so before I delved into the dirty work, I wanted to make sure my intuition was 20/20, and did a quick google search for ” Superman eating meat”.
You see that caption Kiki? An ARMY’s worth of burgers and hes still going. He’s eating so many hes got a harem of McDonalds hussy’s lined up to keep the supply in stock. According to this comic, Superman has eaten more burgers than anyone in history. Literally the last person you can call a vegan. And I know what your going to say. That’s Superman, not Clark Kent
Boom and Boom. Hamburgers for Superman. BEEF Bourguigiwhatever, and a five pound steak for Clark. Right in your face KiKi. Listen, I don’t mind you feeling passionate about converting the entire world to a cardboard diet. It’s a free country, knock yourself out. But the second you start slandering the Superman name with this horse hockey, I draw the line.