New organic, vegan eatery A Live Kitchen opens this weekend in Queens, NY. Its menu covers a wide range of culinary influences, drawing from American, Caribbean, Spanish, and Italian cuisines. It offers items such as Rasta Pasta in a Caribbean cream sauce with mixed peppers and jerk jackfruit; paella with brown rice, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, Kalamata olives, cabbage, and broccoli; and a Smoky BBQ Sandwich with sautéed mushrooms slow cooked in barbeque sauce and topped with a grilled pineapple on a sprouted bun. Owners Craig Thompson and Steffen Alexander, two childhood friends who grew up together in the same Queens neighborhood, were inspired to open the restaurant after finding no vegan options in the area. “Coming from this area, where there are very few healthy options, we want to be a solution to the problem many people are having, which is finding good vegan food,” Thompson told VegNews. “When you have a local, tasty solution, it becomes much easier to go vegan.” The pair also aims to reduce the restaurant’s carbon footprint by offering takeout containers, cups, and straws that are eco-friendly and biodegradable. Thompson and Alexander hope to eventually expand to new locations in areas that are in need of more vegan options.