There’s a reason they call New Jersey the Garden State.
A recent study by Total form ranked New Jersey sixth on its list of the most vegan-friendly states in the country. The fitness-focused website looked at each state’s vegan population, the number of vegan restaurants by state, vegan dating groups, and animal welfare groups.
Of the 50 states, New Jersey led the way for the largest selection of vegan restaurants. With 29 vegan dining choices per 1 million people, New Jersey ranks well ahead of Hawaii’s 19 vegan restaurants.
One of our 29 vegan restaurants is House of Flavors in Bayonne, opened by Melissa Drullard and her fiancé in 2017. The duo create herbal dishes with a Dominican touch. In 2019, House of Flavor landed a spot on our list of the best vegan restaurants.
With a lack of vegan options in their area, it made “just sense” for the couple to open their own plant-based restaurant, Drullard says.
“When we opened our doors, we saw veganism as the future,” she adds. “Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of places open up. Vegan options will continue to grow.
What motivated your decision to open a vegan restaurant?
Mélissa Drullard: When we had our first son, he refused to eat meat. After he was born, we started to look at veganism, herbal and things like that. We all started veganism at the same time. My fiance and I were starting to set up a restaurant and we were like, “You might as well be vegan because that’s what we’re doing right now.”
Are most of your customers vegans or is there a mix?
We have a good mix of people because what we make doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be vegan to enjoy it. We have a lot of people who are going vegan but don’t want to step out of their comfort zone too much.
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What types of dishes do you offer?
Our restaurant is 100 percent vegan but offers a bit of everything. I try to use a little of my culture, of my Dominican origins, to bring diversity to our dishes. We have a ton of meals, salad bowls, shakes, juices. All!
Since opening, have you seen more vegan options appear?
Yes, I have seen a lot more places opening up in neighboring towns. When we started going vegan, we really didn’t have a lot of places to go out and eat. Now there are a variety of places you can go, and many restaurants now have vegan options.
Do you think vegan options in New Jersey will continue to grow?
Absoutely. I want everyone to know that it will always be bigger than the food. It is important for people to know what they are putting into their body. You must always take care of yourself. We try to share this with our customers.
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