As more Americans turn vegetarian, local restaurants are getting the message
I was inhaling a very good piece of vegetarian pizza from Palm Beach’s Amici Market when I realized how many of my friends had decided to give up meat during the pandemic. It’s apparently a national trend for a number of reasons.
Restaurants have noticed. Sure, it’s good for the planet, and good for our health, but it’s cheaper. Veggies have been easier to find during lockdowns, too. The New York Times found that 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases can be attributed to livestock. Says the Times: “Some of the environmental effects that have been associated with meat production are pollution through fossil fuel usage, animal methane, effluent waste, and water and land consumption.”
That all adds up to bring you more vegetarian dishes on menus, as well as new vegetarian restaurants opening. Established restaurants are altering menus for the same reason. Plus, as Elisabetta’s chef/owner, Lisabet Summa, says, “Rock on, veggies! They are the most exciting and diverse ingredients a chef has to work with!”
Palm Beach County has seen a number of sustainably conscious or plant-based restaurants pop up in the past few years, along with some planning to open (maybe): CoreLife Eatery (Boca, Royal Palm Beach), True Food Kitchen (Boca, Fall 2021 in West Palm Beach), Farmer’s Table (Boca Raton, North Palm Beach), Planta and Pura Vita (once planned to open in WPB).
Boca’s Farmer’s Table got in front of the trend years ago with its vegetarian and vegan menus. Says co-owner Joey Giannuzzi, “We are currently featuring an already larger number of these dishes than most restaurants. Our daily chef’s creations are also heavily vegan and vegetarian-oriented.”
“The majority of our entrees are already offered in vegetarian form, and we are constantly adding new items,” says Brad DeGrazia, franchisee co-owner of the CoreLife Eatery locations in Boca Raton and Royal Palm Beach along with his brother, Drew DeGrazia. That includes “new additions that are not heavily relying on meat proteins, which are the Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl and the Maple Bacon Brussels Sprout Bowl (very little bacon is included).”
Chef Summa points out, “I love to treat a vegetable as the hero or center of the plate like you would a steak, chop or a filet of fish. Italians treat their fish very simply, adorning them with a fresh-pressed grassy olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice and a little fresh Serrano chili. This same treatment is delicious on freshly grilled vegetables such as zucchini squash and grilled radicchio.”
The veggie takeover is all part of the changes we saw by the barrel-full in 2020, and taste changes aren’t going to slow down any time soon.
FARMER’S TABLE, 1901 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton; 561/417-5836; dinefarmerstable.com
ELISABETTA’S, 32 E. Atlantic Ave., Boca Raton; 561/560-6699; and 185 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach; elisabettas.com
CORELIFE EATERY, 8170 Glades Road, Boca Raton; 561/931-2535; locations. corelifeeatery.com/corelife-eatery-458bb7a833d9
AMICI MARKET, 155 N. County Road, Palm Beach; 561/832-0201; amicimarket.com/venchi