Vegetarian and vegan locals, pay attention. Anyone curious to have a tasty, meatless meal, you too. It's called Frisch Compassionate Eatery, and it's SLC's latest and greatest in dairy- and meat-free menu options in the Liberty Park neighborhood. We're aware of the stigma that 'dairy free' carries...you think it'll be all dry and bland, but you're so wrong, friend. Owners, Leigh and Rachel Kade, have managed to create a myriad of delicious menu items that are simultaneously dairyless, meatless, and de-li-cious. We assume it's the tasty result of years of experimentation with grains, spices, and veggies [a.k.a. everything that you need]. Read on to learn more about their passion for Veganism and the science of food...
Tell us a little about your business concept…Where the idea came from? When it all started? Opening our own business has always been a dream of ours. We toyed with the idea when we were in Oregon, but when we moved back to SLC and found the vegan community to be so supportive, not to mention the great food scene, we started thinking about it more seriously. On a vacation to New Mexico last spring we talked a lot about the idea of a vegan food truck or cart…but then we saw that this space was available and we just kind of jumped on it.
Tell us about your implementation of more plant based food compared to other veg/vegan restaurants. People are becoming a lot more aware and concerned about what they’re eating, whether it be for health, ethical or environmental reasons…but they don’t necessarily know how yummy vegan food can be. It’s not all sticks and twigs and bland tofu! We try to vegan-ize some comfort foods (like Mac n Cheese and Nachos) that vegans miss, but keep them healthy. Also, we like to take healthy ingredients that some omnivores are “scared of” like kale, tofu or quinoa and showcase the flavors and health benefits in an accessible way. We try not to be too “churchy” or preachy. We also do our best to source locally by working with a great urban farmer, Kevin Nash, of Earth First Eco-Farms.
Rachel, tell us about your complete conversion to vegetarianism during pregnancy and then to vegan-ism. I pretty much lost my taste for meat when I was pregnant. I am an ethical vegan first and foremost and I decided I didn't feel right taking pain and death into my body when I was making a life. I was luckily, I had a very healthy pregnancy and I had a midwife who supported my decision to go vegetarian. By the time our daughter was two or so, the whole family had made the switch. It was her who actually talked us into making the leap to vegan-ism by asking why we still ate fish (after seeing Finding Nemo) and as we learned more about the factory farming industry, the switch became a no-brainer for us.
Tell us about where you get your inspiration for the menu. We change our menu up a lot. Leigh loves to experiment so we come up with some interesting stuff for specials...like Vegan Shawarma, Cajun Red Beans & Rice with vegan sausage. Sometimes our customers will even challenge us to try to vegan-ize something…that’s how we came up with the Cajun dish. We post our specials online so people can plan their visit during a special they like. If they are popular enough, we’ll add them to the regular menu. We’re really excited for summer and all of the fresh produce that will be available, that will definitely be reflected in our menu.
Leigh, tell us about your love for the science of vegan cooking, and any new creations you're working on. When we change the way we look at cooking, we liberate ourselves from very static thinking. In the past, people trying to make a vegan sausage would get caught up on what type of soy protein would make the best meat substitute. Now, we look outside that box and find that beans could be prepared in a certain manner, steamed or baked, and then you have a sausage! Or finding that perfect “tang” in a Vegan cheese sauce with sauerkraut. I mean, come on, who thinks of that? We are constantly playing with our recipes, finding ways to make a certain dish just right. We have recently developed a country gravy with vegan sausage that is pretty stellar, and it’s basically a bean soup. There are so many amazing vegan chefs out there, and the spirit of collaboration is incredible. The people you really want to look at are the ones who approach cooking like chemistry; these are the folks that look at how flavor interacts on a deeper level, and are more likely to throw something completely alien into a dish just to see what happens.
Why Salt Lake? Tell us more about your 'following' and loyal customers. We’ve all heard the term “Small Lake City” right? We love that about Salt Lake. I love that our restaurant is in the neighborhood where we had our first apartment together. I love that almost every day I see somebody I know at Frisch. That sense of community is a lot of what brought us back to Salt Lake and a lot of why small businesses can succeed here. There’s also the fact that in Salt Lake, nobody does anything half-way, especially when it comes to anything underground or different. When we have tattoos, we have a LOT of tattoos. When we go vegan we go hardcore! That intensity translates into fantastic loyalty. We have been very blessed with a loyal customer base from the get-go. I think the vegan community, especially, wants to ensure that they have places to eat with a clean conscience. We have college kids that eat here three to four times a week!
Frisch Compassionate Eatery | 779 S 500 E | 801.532.2216