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Spring 2005 - Act•ionLine

by Edita Birnkrant | Spring 2005

Foodswings Restaurant: Fun Food, Seasoned with Social Awareness

A visit to Foodswings, Brooklyn’s first all-vegan fast-food restaurant, is designed to delight the visitor’s inner vegan kid. Located in the Williamsburg section away from the bustle of Bedford Street, it’s a refuge for vegans who crave vegan versions of the typical cheesy, meaty fast-food fare.

It’s hard to miss this restaurant, with its vibrant, green trim, and a giant mural of cheery animals surrounding its name. The kitschy, cozy interior is true to form, with humorous paintings with animal-rights themes on deep violet and gold walls. Glass table tops display collages of political and social figures. A counter near the entrance and facing the street is reserved for political literature and information.

The owner and manager, Freedom, strives to make veganism “accessible, fun and easy.” The basic ethic is to feature a menu entirely free of animal products, accompanied by a mission to support animal rights and social justice causes.

One corner of Foodswings is dedicated to a surprising variety of sweets and snacks — Pixy Stix, Twizzlers, Faux “beef” jerky, freshly made chocolate chip cookies, dark chocolate espresso balls, Key Lime Pie, several cakes, and a freezer full of vegan ice cream.

The menu itself features vegetarian variations of popular party fare, such as buffalo wings, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, nachos, fish and chips, and a faux Philly cheese steak. But the restaurant does offer salads, along with numerous hot and cold sandwiches. A vegetarian Reuben sandwich consists of marinated tempeh, fresh raw spinach, and warm sauerkraut on sourdough bread, served with Dijonaise sauce.

Defying the temptation to order The King, a sandwich named for Elvis Presley and described as peanut butter and banana griddles on a choice of bread, I opted for the popular Foodswings Pu-Pu Platter: two Mock Nuggets, two Sea Styx, and one of each Foodswings Drumsticks. Several delicious dipping sauces came with the dish. Especially impressive — perhaps even too authentic — were the drumsticks, with their crisp surface and tender faux chicken inside, and a wooden stick through the middle.

Another winner is the messy and gooey quesadilla, a 10-inch flour tortilla with mock chicken, cheddar soy cheese, tofu sour cream.

“I can’t believe it’s vegan, ” was my reaction to the peanut butter and chocolate milkshake. I’ll be back for another.

The next time you hear your friends insist that it’s just too hard to give up chicken or cheese, meet them at Foodswings. It might be the start of something wonderful.


295 Grand St.
Brooklyn, New York

Foodswings is open Tuesday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Sunday Brunch: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Catering and free delivery available.

Edita Birnkrant

Act•ionLine Spring 2005

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