WXXI Arts inFocus – Vegan Thanksgiving: The Red Fern

WXXI Arts inFocus – Vegan Thanksgiving: The Red Fern


The Red Fern is a 100%
vegan restaurant with
gluten free and allergy
friendly options.
We opened the restaurant
to be able to bring tasty,
vegan options to the city.When we opened
six years ago,
there was very limited
vegan options and we
wanted to help everyone
understand that vegan food
is delicious and it’s
foods that are very
similar to what
you already eat.
Things like nachos,
quesadilla,
mac and cheese,
and of course,
Rochester’s garbage plate
which we aptly call the
compost plate.For every meat based
protein we have a vegan
equivalent that
we substitute.
For example, we have a
vegan Italian sausage,
made out of seitan.We have seitan steak.We have spicy buffalo
tempeh which mimics a
buffalo chicken.To vegan-ize any
recipe is a challenge.
You have to think about
textures, flavors,
in certain dishes you have
to mimic the creaminess of
something.You might need to
mimic the chewiness.
So we do a lot
of draft testing.
We adjust seasonings
and textures constantly
improving to come up with
a great final product.
We began offering the
thanksgiving takeout meals
about five years ago as
a convenience to people
going to their relative’s
houses where, maybe,
they weren’t going to be
catered to or they were
going to have difficulty
eating at the dinner table
with their relatives.We make a complete
thanksgiving meal that’s
vegan and gluten
free optional.
That way, they can bring
the whole meal to their
relative’s house and sit
down at the table with
everyone else and enjoy
family time together.
This year we are offering
an expanded thanksgiving
catering menu.We have two main
meal options.
We have our thanksgiving
dinner and then we have
our T-Day roast.Our Thanksgiving dinner is
mashed potatoes and gravy,
a slice of lentil loaf,
maple roasted squash,
sautéed kale, and a slice
of gluten free bread or a
dinner roll with
cranberry butter.
Our T-Day roast
is squash mash,
sweet and smoky
glazed tofu ham,
garlic roasted
green beans,
and a slice of gluten free
bread or a dinner roll
with cranberry butter.We wanted to make it
convenient for everyone to
get a vegan or gluten free
meal around the holidays
when everyone is really
busy and stressed out.
We wanted to try to make
it easy for them to bring
a meal to their family and
enjoy it with everyone
else at the table.People love these meals.We’ve actually had to
offer a second pick up day
starting last year so that
there’s more opportunity
for people to
come and pick up.
We have the capacity
for 100 meals each day.
We’ve already sold out
Wednesday and Tuesday is
filling up quick as well.When we opened in 2013,
we weren’t the only vegan
restaurant in town, but we
were the first to put an
American spin
on vegan food.
I’m so happy to be
pioneering this and making
it really awesome for
everyone else to come in
and start their own place.I would love for there to
be more vegan restaurants
in town.Right now we’ve seen an
increase of options at
restaurants, but it would
be really sweet to see to
see a lot more all vegan
places opening in the
city.

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