Vegan company Chickpea & Olive (C&O) opened a permanent food counter at Whole Foods Market in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY earlier this month. The street-level, 10-foot-wide counter is packed with burgers, fries, and sandwiches—including a new addition, the Chk’n Fried Tofu Sandwich, crafted with housemade vegan buttermilk and served in three different styles (Nashville Hot Tofu, Buffalo Tofu, and BBQ smothered Tofu). C&O got its bearings as a food stand at Brooklyn’s popular weekly marketplace Smorgasburg in 2012 and partnered with Whole Foods to operate an in-store stand at its Gowanus location from September 2016 to May of this year. “We are in the business of selling really tasty food to people who would otherwise be eating animals and animal products,” C&O’s vegan CEO Danielle Ricciardi tells VegNews. “Every sandwich we sell to an omnivore is a hamburger or a fried chicken or a slice of pizza not being eaten. The omnivore and the carnist will continue to sell the story that they need meat and cheese, and that vegan food is bland. We are able to directly confront those stereotypes from our Whole Foods stand all year round.” Riccardi plans to expand C&O into the retail sector, continue to develop new dishes for the in-store counter, and launch a delivery option with courier service Postmates in the near future. This August, Whole Foods will welcome vegan eatery Next Level Burger to its Roosevelt Square location in Seattle, WA.
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