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Peep inside the vegan restaurant coming to Dupont in Sept

Native Foods Cafe's storefront at 1150 Connecticut Ave NW

A Native Foods Cafe in Chicago, Ill

Native Foods Cafe, a vegan-fast-casual restaurant chain, plans to officially open its first East Coast store Sept 30 at 1150 Connecticut Ave NW.

The chain, which has 20-odd locations, mostly in California, serves only "plant-based" foods--AKA vegan foods--that even non-vegans apparently enjoy. "Eighty percent of our guests are neither vegan or vegetarian," says Lauren Neuschel, brand and communications manager for the company. "We're completely plant based, but our food is totally accessible." The menu includes wraps, sandwiches, tacos, salads, "earth bowls"--a quinoa- or brown-rice-based bowl of veggies--and even "cheeseburgers" and "meatball subs." Neuschel says Native Foods makes all its food--including seitan, tempeh, and cashew "cheese"--in house.

The 1150 Connecticut Avenue location will be Native Foods' first foray to the East Coast but not its last.  A second location at 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW (where Eater DC reports that signage is already going up) is projected to open in mid-October, and the company has signed two leases in Northern Virginia.

"Our owners are passionate about D.C.; it's an important market for us," says Neuschel. "There's a lot of interesting and diverse neighborhoods there, there's a huge international community. If we're going to make vegan food national, why not be in the nation's capital?"

And after that? "We want to be expanding a ton of places across the East Coast," Neuschel says. 

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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