I had the pleasure and honor of speaking with owner Brenda Beener the other day about her restaurant , Seasoned Vegan. If you haven’t heard of this Harlem gem you are definitely missing out. With roots in a non-vegan bakery in 2010, Mrs. B was given a table and six burners serving her home cooked vegan food. Many of her customers urged her to open up her own restaurant and a few years later, we have Seasoned Vegan.
BGF: How long have you’ve been vegan?
SV: We’ve always had a micro-biotic lifestyle, consuming chicken and fish. My children have never eaten red meat or pork even in the womb. My children were about 11 and 18 when my husband went on a 21 day fast, no chicken or fish and I had to prepare food that both my children and husband would eat.
BGF: What sets Seasoned Vegan apart from other vegan restaurants? SV: I would say that home cooked feeling.
BGF: Why do you think it’s necessary to adopt a plant -based diet?
SV: Well, I don’t try to convince anyone to change their diet and how one chooses to eat, however, I do believe diseases and illnesses have to direct correlation with what you put into your body.
BGF: How has vegan-ism affected people of color?
SV: What you eat ultimately determines what diseases you get . There was an older lady in my building, she died at 95, however she was diagnosed with diabetes in her 50s and was prescribed insulin . She changed her diet , no meat or dairy and was able to live diabetes free. Illness isn’t hereditary, eating the same foods that contributed to illness is hereditary. I want to give people an option, There are people who don’t have movement every day. Can you believe that? Not releasing those toxins in your body makes you ill. It was important to bring food to our community. This restaurant is bigger a bigger medium, I’m bringing accessibility. our food is at a price point where people can enjoy without tearing up pockets. The health of my community is important and just knowing that I’m giving people a healthier option, another choice is great for me.
BGF: What do you want Black Girly Fly to know about Seasoned Vegan?
SV: Seasoned Vegan is based on love, customers say there’s a welcoming vibe and you can taste the love in our food. Also, I am concerned about the health of our community. Do you know that show "Cheers"? I always wanted a "Cheers", it’s warm here and I got what I wished for--my own cheers. People know you, this is your home away from home. I do my own shopping, I am extremely concerned about the products and the quality.
One of my favorite things is watching senior citizens and babies eat my food, you know how senior citizens can be stuck in their own ways , they eat my food and come back again and again. It makes me happy, makes me feel good. And babies who don’t eat, eat my food. Parents think that their kids have to eat meat and they don’t have to, there’s a new generation that is more in tuned with eating a plant based diet. It’s proven that those who adopt a plant based diet are more in tuned with the environment and with their peers. It’s a revolution going on in food, and I’m glad to be apart of that.
Rachel DuBose is Chicago-based playwright returning to the area by way of Atlanta, GA. After finishing her undergraduate career at Spelman College, Rachel went on to work with NinaHoliday Productions and BET. Some of her work, Eve Within and Alkie's Anonymous have received stage readings at Spelman with the latter being showcased at The Alliance Theatre during Spelman Salon. Most recently, Lonely Hearts participated in The Fade 2 Black Festival in Houston, TX. Rachel holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University. Rachel is also a resident playwright at Mercy Street Theatre Company and a regular contributor for Black Girl Fly Magazine.