The breakfast burger at Pure Vegan Café contains so many oxymorons that even a giant shrimp could do a double take after seeing it on the menu.
Topped with vegan bacon, vegan cheese, a vegan egg and vegan chipotle mayonnaise, the breakfast burger, offered with either a soy protein or potato and peas patty, embodies Pure Vegan Café’s incog-meat-o ideology. , a Raleigh and Cary-based Triangle chain that opened its third location last week in a Durham strip mall near Duke Hospital.
The cafe’s all-vegan menu is anchored in plant-based burgers, chick’n’ sandwiches and breakfast items (overnight oats with almond milk; vegan sausage, egg and cheese on an English muffin; waffles with strawberries and vegan whipped cream), with additional categories for vegetarian dogs, salad bowls, and Indian fusion items.
When owner Veena Birajadar moved from India to the United States, one of the first things she noticed was that nearly every American restaurant is focused on meat with limited vegetarian or vegan offerings that she says are mostly “just lettuce”.
As a vegetarian who eats “99 percent vegan,” Birajadar struggled to find meals that fit her own diet, but also realized that carnivores looking to become vegetarian or vegan didn’t have many options to ease the transition period. : “There was nothing in between,” she says.
With Pure Vegan Café’s menu of fake meat dishes, Birjadar hopes to help aspiring vegans wean themselves off animal products while also offering tasty and healthy dishes for seasoned vegans and carnivores alike.
The cafeteria also has a menu of cold-pressed juices made from leafy greens, root vegetables, and fruit. Birajadar says that he discovered the juices several years ago when his mother-in-law was in the last stages of pancreatic cancer. She and her husband were looking for alternative medicinal practices and came across the Gerson Therapy, a treatment that claims to “activate the body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself” through a specific plant-based diet that includes drinking nearly a gallon of juice raw every day.
By this time, Birajadar had quit his job in the information technology industry (“it was starting to get really boring,” he says) and was spending his days gardening. After seeing the positive effect the Gerson Therapy had on his mother-in-law, he decided to open Pure Vegan Café.
“That’s when it clicked,” says Birajadar. “Food does everything inside you.”
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