Seattle, WA-based bar Shelter Lounge recently transformed its Ballard area location into a fully plant-based eatery. Shelter Lounge owners Derek Sepesy and Kevin Carlson teamed up with Keaton Tucker, owner of vegan food truck Cycle Dogs, to roll out the new vegan menu featuring appetizers, salads, burgers, and sandwiches. New dishes include PB&J Jalapeño Poppers, Avo Fries, Chick’n Avo Salad, the Shelter Cheeseburger, and Spicy Grilled Cheese, along with cocktails such as the Basil Cucumber Fizz and Classic Chilcano.
“When a bar and restaurant makes a shift like this, it’s important that you win over the longtime patrons while also offering menu items that aren’t widely available to the vegan community,” Tucker told VegNews. “It’s quite the balancing act as it turns out. The menu is still in a very fluid state, but I’d say we’re off to a great start.”
Sepesy and Carlson were inspired to make the change after befriending the team behind Cycle Dogs. Sepesy had recently become vegan with his family due to his daughter’s allergies, and Carlson’s family is vegetarian. They found out that Cycle Dogs had been looking to expand into a brick-and-mortar location, so Sepesy asked if they wanted to partner with Shelter Lounge. The eatery had planned to launch the new menu in April but the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to reschedule. “When COVID-19 hit it devastated our industry and our livelihoods,” Sepesy told VegNews. “We took the five months we were closed to spend time with our families and game plan for how, when, and if we would open. The rest is history.”
Shelter Lounge plans to release a new vegan brunch menu in the coming months. When COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the team also plans to bring back live DJs on weekends.