Sophie’s Scran is changing the face of vegan food in Derry

Customers travel all the way to Monaghan at their premises next to Collon Bar to try their food, which is all vegan, but the friends-turned-business partners don’t discriminate against meat eaters either.

Jemma said: ‘We’ve had a few people ordering and you can tell by the way they ordered they don’t realize we’re vegan. We’ll tell them the craic and sometimes people who were a little anxious about trying something will love it! It’s great to see.

“Sophie’s is a safe space for everyone, no matter what they eat, and we welcome everyone to come and try something. To our knowledge, there is no one who has not enjoyed a dish and that’s thanks to our chef Kerrie the dishes Kerrie can come up with are amazing we said a few weeks ago that it was possible to change the menu and give something a little different and Kerrie just changed the full menu no problem. That first weekend we tried the new menu was also very busy and everyone loved it! Credit to Kerrie and her level of skill.

Chef Kerrie Costello and Jemma Heath, who are co-owners of Sophie’s Scran, a vegan van next to Collon Bar on Buncranna Road.

When people think of veganism, healthy food is often the first thing that comes to mind, but Kerrie jokes that you can have it all, from a “healthy option to a dirty burger” at Sophie’s and be sure there is no cross-contamination with meat products.

She said: ‘I’ve been a chef for years but found there was a real lack of options for vegans to eat in Derry. This has happened to me before where I was eating at the restaurant and they told me something was vegan. After I started eating they came and took it back because there was mayonnaise in it. It was horrible, but there’s no fear of it happening here.

At the moment Sophie’s Screen only opens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday but they have big plans for the future. Jemma said: “We all have full time jobs Monday to Friday so it’s a crazy pressure on us. We could do ten hours of preparation before even going out. It’s mental but worth it.

“It’s something we all wanted to do,” Kerrie said, “and the feedback we’re getting from people encourages us to fight fatigue and keep showing up. People are also asking us to open during the week, and they understand when we tell them about our other jobs, but it’s really nice to hear that people want more.

Sophie’s Scran’s Thai Yellow Curry.

“We have all of our regular customers who come back every week and we are very grateful to them. We also wouldn’t be here without all the staff at Collon Bar and the owner, Susan Diggins, who let us use the space. All of our lovely family and friends have been hugely supportive as well, as well as Anne Marie O’Hara, who leads the Derry Vegan and Vegetarian Society. From day one, she came and went above and beyond to promote us and encourage people to come. She is one of our biggest supporters and has helped us tremendously. The response has been really, really good and we’re getting busier every week. We have people traveling from Belfast, Monaghan, Malin Head and places to try our food and it’s just amazing. We welcome people from everywhere, whether vegan or not!

Sophie’s Screens are available on Facebook and Instagram.
Chef Kerrie preparing Chow Mein.