According to the Vegetarian Times, 7.3 million Americans are vegetarian while 1 million are vegan. As science develops and more research is conducted on living a healthy life, it is becoming more apparent that adopting a vegetarian inclined lifestyle is much healthier for people of all ages. However, sometimes it is hard to maintain such a diet, no matter how beneficial it might be for your body, because of a lack of options. I can still recall the numerous times I’ve gone looking for food in the city only to find certain establishments don’t offer a single vegetarian dish except for salad (no matter how much I love salad, there are only so many times I can eat it). This poses a second problem, what are the alternatives? The typical answer would be junk food, which is quite counterproductive to the “I’m becoming a vegetarian to be healthier” idea and therefore serves as yet another major deterrent for adopting veganism or vegetarianism. Because of these two issues, I seriously considered reverting back to my meat eating days, and just as I was being drawn back to the “dark side”, I found Franchia.
Located on Park Avenue near Midtown East and Murray Hill, Franchia is a vegan cafe and tea house. It serves a variety of vegan Korean and Asian fusion dishes and is a fabulous dining option for lunch, dinner, dessert or an in-between snack. Some of their most delicious dishes include the spicy soy “chicken” drumsticks, the avocado bibimbap and the pad Thai noodles. The menu is also composed of a variety of vegan sushi options, vegan tapas options, gluten free options as well as a prix fixe option.
Aside from its fantastic assortment of dishes, Franchia also prides itself on its fine tea collection which include varieties from plantations in Sri Lanka, Korea, India, China and Japan. The establishment strongly believes in the positive health benefits of tea such as its ability to lower cholesterol, keep the skin looking young and fresh and reduce the chance of heart attacks. Their selection of teas includes several forms of green tea, white tea, black tea, herbal tea, freshly squeezed fruit tea and flavored tea.
The design of Franchia is also an important element in your experience there. The two-story locality is an appealing but uncomplicated mixture of modern architectures as well as traditional Korean styles. It is the perfect place to go after a fast paced shopping spree or a hard day at work. The staff is friendly and the ambience is ideal for winding down (although I’ve always found the environment particularly calming at night).
Franchia is a symbol of a developing cuisine in today’s world. It is a combination of past and present cultures, traditions and flavors that is not only soothing, but is also capable of restoring faith in faltering vegetarians like myself, and legitimizing the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle to meat eaters. It’s the perfect example of what healthy living looks and tastes like and I guarantee that once you go there, the idea of changing your eating habits will cross your mind at least once.
Franchia Vegan Cafe
12 Park Avenue (between 34th and 35th Streets)
New York, NY
Franchia is open Monday through Friday from 12 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from 1 pm to 10 pm and Sunday from 5 pm to 9:30 pm.