June 1, 2015

Rise of Kosher Vegans and Vegetarians Gains Recognition…and a New Restaurant

Brooklyn, NY - Given the Jewish custom of eating poultry and meat as part of the traditional Shabbos or holiday meal, one would expect that kosher vegans and vegetarians would be a dying breed. Yet, there are signs that kosher vegans and vegetarians are anything but. Vegan and vegetarian cuisine in general seem to be on the rise having moved beyond ethical reasons to include those that are looking for a healthier, cleaner lifestyle. In fact, the Nutrition Business Journal Food Trades Report 2015 reports that although 6% of the American population classifies themselves as vegan and 7% as vegetarians, 36% of Americans prefer milk and meat substitutes. This trend has extended to kosher eaters as well, with an increasing number of products and eateries boasting vegan and vegetarian ingredients.

In what is certainly a sign of the emerging trend for kosher vegan and vegetarian products, a new Caribbean vegetarian kosher restaurant recently opened in DUMBO, near Brooklyn Bridge Park. The new Fiya restaurant is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Fiya’s menu offers vegetarian and Caribbean flavors including quinoa, fish and vegetarian chicken. “Initially when I found the space in DUMBO, it was near the water so I thought I’d follow that vibe,” said owner, Dov Popack, “but after meeting the chef and tasting his amazing food that was not only vegetarian, but Caribbean as well I was sold. I grew up in Crown Heights surrounded by neighbors who hailed from the Islands, so I was already familiar with their culture and I decided it would be a wonderful opportunity to bring it to the kosher food market.” Popack named the restaurant Fiya, which means both ‘fire’ and ‘cool’ in Rastafarian , to encapsulate the relaxed, open vibe of the Caribbean culture that he wanted to bring to his restaurant. The restaurant not only attract kosher consumers, but many non-kosher customers who love the food, ambience, live music and beautifully designed space. “We’ve had a great response already and we’re looking forward to a great summer in DUMBO.”