SYRACUSE N.Y. (NCC News) – As the doors fly open to a bright, vibrant environment where the smell of fresh food wafts throughout the shop, customers grab a comfortable seat at an all-vegan restaurant.
Strong Hearts Cafe sits off the corner of Irving Ave. just a brisk walk away from Syracuse University. Its menu is chock-full of healthy vegan options that range from chicken salads to bacon cheeseburgers.
Co-owner Nick Ryan is hoping to show the possibility of a healthy and affordable meatless lifestyle by supporting animal rights.
“You are supporting a business that is founded by people who have a passion for a loftier concern than just making money,” Ryan said.
With the population of Syracuse continuing to see high rates of poverty, long-term chronic diseases have been a common result.
Ryan said eating a vegan diet can reduce a serious amount of fat and cholesterol intake that tends to be harmful to the body.
“A lot of people are driven more toward just eating plants, more whole foods and that is where the health benefit comes in,” Ryan said.
Vegan meals can offer a variety of positive health outcomes, but with Syracuse neighborhoods facing economic struggles, families are pushed to budget little to feed themselves.
Understanding the community’s situation, Ryan is trying to make it known to the public that Strong Hearts Cafe is looking out for its customers’ health and budgets.
“We want to bring people into the fold of our business, not keep them away with extravagant prices,” Ryan said.