DC Vegan—Washington, DC’s beloved vegan deli and caterer—is adding a new artisanal vegan cheese shop to its three-storey, 5,000-square-foot building.
The vegan cheese shop, located in the deli on the second floor of the Dupont Circle-area restaurant, will offer an array of artisanal vegan cheeses. From Sun Dried Tomato & Herb Fromage by Rebel Cheese to Truffle Hound by Reine Cuisine and creamy Mozz Wedges and Double Cream Brie by Bandit, the cheese shop will offer an array of premier cheeses from across the country.
“We have carefully curated each of our new cheese vendors and couldn’t be happier with the selection,” DC Vegan co-owner and CEO Leah Curran Moon said in a statement. “The flavor and texture of our cheeses are beyond any other vegan cheeses I’ve ever had.”
DC Vegan founders and husband-wife duo Curran Moon and Michael Jantz Moon first launched their catering business in Union Kitchen’s food incubator in 2015. Six years later, the couple expanded the business into a brick-and-mortar “fine-casual” DC Vegan Delicatessen.
Earlier this year, they added the Botanical Bar—DC’s first vegan bar—along with a dog-friendly outdoor dining ‘parklet’ and a private event space on the third floor.
Vegan cheese and aquafaba cocktails
Located on the lower level of DC Vegan’s vegan Italian-American deli, Botanical Bar features botanical cocktails, local craft beer, and vegan wines along with a cross section of DC Vegan’s most popular snacks from the deli upstairs, such as fried king trumpet calamari with cashew parmesan and cauliflower wings with barbecue or buffalo sauce.
In addition to the new cheese shop, DC Vegan is also rolling out full-service dining with an Italian-American menu at the Botanical Bar.
“We’ve taken all our great customer feedback and created a scratch dinner menu we are very proud of,” Jantz Moon said in a statement. “We are adding classics like Eggplant Rollatini, Italian Wedding Soup, Lasagna, Beans and Greens, Mushroom Ragout and Herbed Polenta - basically, some of our all-time Italian favorites.”
The Botanical Bar is also known for the botanical-inspired cocktail menu, crafted using only plant-based ingredients. Egg white foams are swapped in favor of aquafaba—an egg white replacer made with chickpea brine—dairy-based creams are replaced with oat milk, and wine and beer are produced without animal-derived products such as isinglass, chitin, or gelatin, which are sometimes used in the clarification or fining process of those beverages.
Highlights from the cocktail list include a perfectly balanced sweet and tart Limoncello; a delicately flavored Peach Bellini topped with an edible flower garnish; and a Strawberry infused Negroni made with gin, strawberry Campari, sweet vermouth, and topped off with an orange peel and strawberry garnish.
DC gets its first veg restaurant week
In recent years, plant-based food has become a focus in Washington, DC because of its health and environmental benefits. Earlier this year, the city celebrated its first Veg Restaurant Week. The event was made possible thanks to a proclamation signed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who aims to help residents make health-promoting and climate-friendly choices.
Bowser’s implementation of Veg Restaurant Week comes less than one year after Washington, DC passed the Green Food Purchasing Act, pioneering legislation that will restructure purchasing practices in the city to reduce the food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030.
Focusing on vegan dishes and restaurants, for one week and beyond, falls well within the city’s climate goals as plant-based foods leave a much lighter carbon footprint than their animal-based counterparts. The initiative is also meant to support local farmers and ingredient purveyors who make plant-based foods more accessible to DC residents.
“DC Veg Restaurant Week encourages the public and community leaders to get to know and celebrate their neighborhoods’ healthy and planet-friendly dining options while supporting local businesses,” Veg Restaurant Week organizer Max Broad said in a statement.
“Together with Mayor Bowser, our co-chairs, and the diverse and culturally rich restaurants taking part, we hope to model the benefits of continuing to center plants on our plates all year round.”