Pure Food and Wine: will it re-open?

Pure Food and Wine Backyard

Pure Food and Wine

Below is the open letter posted by Sarma on her blog just a few days ago. It is currently unavailable so we decided to copy / paste the text here. It has been a deeply troubled time for the upscale NYC raw restaurant, and for Sarma, the owner, specifically.

Maybe its’ time to show some compassion, on both side, and try to re-built something that is for now, broken. Pure has arguably been since its creation the best raw food vegan restaurant in the city, and the backyard is truly, has Sarma says, magical. We hope that all the staff will be paid soon, and the restaurant back on its little duck feet.



So much that I don’t know how to get the words out.

A few weeks ago, Pure Food and Wine, both NYC One Lucky Duck stores, and even our online shipping and production space in Brooklyn closed down. The reasons and circumstances are complicated, emotionally loaded, and there is a lot I can say, need to say, and will say about that in the future. This company, this brand, what we do, what we can do, our customers, and yes, our employees are everything to me. For it to come apart, and in a way that harmed my staff, has been the most terrifying nightmare come true.

Since this happened, I’ve been wanting so badly to reach out, to write something, post anything, also via that world known as “social media” which as many know is indeed a meaningful means of connection. I’ve always been an over-communicator, and here I did the opposite. I also did not communicate with those most important – the staff – the ones who worked so hard everyday and made it all possible. And so I let them down on multiple levels. And they’re still waiting. And in the most heartbreaking way, those I haven’t reached out to yet, still thinking I must not care enough to bother. But in fact, I care so much and it hurts so much but I have to compartmentalize for now, because every moment I have available is spent working to fix this, to make it up, and to save this. Even writing this now I feel I should be on a call, pursing this lead or that, but I also just wanted to get this one first post out there.

Also, I know people have called for reservations and no one is answering, have emailed about placing orders for cookies and yet can’t do so. It’s one of our most amazing long time customers who is spending her time now, only to help, by replying to emails and calling reservations, to help explain what’s happened. But in this crisis—for me it has to be all about working towards the solution first and foremost. So if we F’d up your anniversary plans, birthday plans… please know I’m so sorry. And I won’t stop working until we’re in a position to make it up to each and every one of you. Also, of course there should be something posted on our website alerting people too… except… I don’t know how to do that myself.  At least I know how to log into wordpress and so can post this, long overdue.

What I also know is that not ever would I or will I stop fighting for everyone who has been a part of Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck. I have always been an open book in the past, yet lately this has all been far too overwhelming. When there is time and I’m able, I will have a lot to explain about how things happened, to express my feelings about it all, painful details and all, and hope that repair and rebuilding on a stronger foundation will be part of that.

Meanwhile, the support of those who badly want to have us back open and running, shipping cookies, serving up sundaes, and sake cocktails in our garden this coming spring, has been overwhelming in a good way. We need that support now more than ever. And the support I’m getting from some of those on the staff is also overwhelming. I just want to deliver for you all, more than anything. I’m one of those people for whom asking for help is among the more painful things imaginable. Admitting I can’t fix everything, handle everything, take care of everything all by myself is hard. But it’s clearer now than ever that that is the case, and has been the case for a long time.

Nothing is certain as of now, and I am quite honestly terrified, but it’s possible that things coming apart will have forced a long-needed restructuring that ensures a much brighter and safer future for the entire business. When you’ve been though bad break ups, relationships are scary. When you’ve been through troubled partnerships, the whole idea of partnership is scary. Yet, when it all falls apart on you, it is definitely the scariest of all.

I hope years from now I’ll be one of those people telling a younger generation that when you believe in something with all your heart and every fiber of your being, never ever give up. No matter what totally unusual and unpredictable roadblocks are thrown your way, just work through it. It will work out. That’s advice I need right now. Because right now, I’m trying so hard to work it out.

There’s so much more I could say and would like to say but first and foremost, finding the solution so I can indeed deliver, repair and heal is what’s occupying every waking moment (and there are more than usual since I have not been sleeping much either). And once I’ve repaired, it’s time to rebuild.

My visions have always been so big, with all their “change the world” idealism. I feel like it’s in my DNA to do this, and so getting knocked down again, even if it was my own fault this time, won’t keep me from getting on with it. I do need some time, a lot of help, and some understanding, but will make it work, and make it better than ever.

People have always said the garden at Pure Food and Wine is magical. I want to believe that’s true, and keep that magic happening this Spring.

With love, humility, and gratitude,


Closed in 2014: restaurants we will miss


A bunch of NYC vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants closed in 2014. They will be dearly missed!

Dirt Candy

The original location closed, but the good news is that Amanda Cohen will reopen a larger restaurant on the Lower East Side.


Gobo (both locations)

The leases expired, and the restaurants closed. Isn’t this sad?


‘sNice (all locations!)

We are not quite sure what happened… The West Village location closed first, and the other two followed. The only sure thing is that the Park Slope location was closed by the Dept of Health…

Family Recipe

Akiko Thurnauer decided to close the restaurant, after 3 years and two Michelin Bib Gourmands “to spend some time with family”.


Cafe Rakka (Avenue B and East 3rd street)

This is a better news that it sounds – while the Avenue B location has closed, a renovated St Mark’s Place Rakka Cafe opened!



A small vegan Turkish place that many enjoyed. You will be missed.

Soy and Sake

A sushi place in the west village, where vegans were welcome.

Table Verte

At the time the only French vegetarian restaurant in the city. It had a charming atmosphere and cute green tables!

Zen Palate

Hell’s Kitchen location was shut down by Health Department, a few years after the Union square location was closed because of high rent increase.


Viva Herbal Pizzeria

The East Village vegan and gluten free pizza spot is gone. Where else will we find seitan on a pizza slice?


Where to go eat, then?

Don’t worry too much, though – NYC is still a great place to be vegan. And there are still a lot of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants for us to enjoy: just check the map!

NEW on VeggiePicks: Comments!

Until today, only food bloggers could write about a restaurant, under the section “Bloggers’ reviews”.

We just added a new section on each restaurant’s page: “Your Opinion”. You can now write your very own experience, recommended dishes, etc.

Had a great time at a vegan place recently? Share it with the community: go on www.VeggiePicks.com, find your restaurant on the map and write a short review!

The 10 best veggie-friendly restaurants in NYC (May 2014)

Traveling to New York?

Here is our latest selection of the best vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the city.

New York offers raw, vegetarian and vegan restaurants in great supply – and there are quite a few to recommend. Don’t forget to take advantage of the huge diversity of ethnic restaurants throughout the city! Though some of them are not completely vegetarian or vegan, they are definitely worth the visit.

Here is a list of restaurants which we have visited, have been recommended to us by friends, or that enjoy a strong reputation in the vegan and vegetarian communities. Enjoy!

As always: discover over 500 hand-picked NYC restaurants on www.veggiepicks.com

#1 Blossom on Carmine

Blossom on Carmine is the newest addition to the Blossom line of restaurants from Ronen Seri and Pamela Blackwell. We enjoyed the romantic atmosphere of brick walls and candles, and the large windows which open up to the street during the warmer months.

The menu is creative and pleasantly varied, with both tapas to share and larger entrees. We particularly enjoyed the Seitan Piccata and the Taco Trio. Ask your waiter for recommendations if you feel a little lost in the generous menu. The service is top-notch: informative, attentive and friendly.

While the prices are a little steep, Blossom on Carmine is a great addition to the neighborhood, and a good place to bring non-vegan friends. The restaurant gets crowded quickly on the weekend so be sure to call beforehand.

Recommended: Tacos, New York Cheesecake, Seitan Picatta.

Contact information, photos & more  


#2 Champs

Vegan comfort food – served with love – that will delight vegans and non-vegans alike. The brunch is amazing and quite popular (so be prepared to wait a little).

You should definitely try the tofu scramble, the pancake slam platter, and the Reuben sandwich. The portions are on the large side, and fairly priced.

Don’t forget to bring cash as credit cards are not accepted at this time (though there is an ATM on premises).

Recommended: Buenos días salad, Reuben Sandwich, French Toast Slam.

Contact information, photos & more  


#3 Pure Food and Wine

Everything at Pure is gluten-free and vegan. We asked for a table at the huge patio in the back, and you probably should, too – you don’t find many outdoor patio spaces like this in Manhattan. The dishes are beautifully presented and the service is wonderful, although the restaurant gets busy and sometimes seems understaffed. Pure is quite possibly the best raw food in the city.

Recommended: Hazelnut and Ale Crostini with Porcini Mascarpone, Zucchini and Local Greenhouse Tomato Lasagna, Curried Vegetables with Sprouted Quinoa Poppadom.

Contact information, photos & more  


#4 Beyond Sushi

Fresh and locally-sourced ingredients assembled into delicious works of art. Beyond Sushi has two fully vegan locations in Manhattan. We went to the original location on 14th street and were impressed. While the place is tiny, it offers a dozen seats. Come for takeout if you are lucky enough to live nearby.

Recommended: Green Machine, Mighty Mushroom, Enoki.

Contact information, photos & more  


#5 Dig Inn

Having a hard time finding vegan or vegetarian food around midtown? Dig Inn may well become your go-to lunch spot. Prices are reasonable, and they really care about the ingredients they use. Check their website to learn more about what’s in your plate.

Grab a large veggie platter with a choice of protein, grain, and three sides, and enjoy your renewed faith in midtown lunches. PS: you can order online and skip the line! But if you forget, don’t worry, the line moves fast.

Recommended: Organic Baked TOfu, Veggie Platter.

Contact information, photos & more  


#6 Candle 79

Widely recognized as one of the best upscale (but still affordable) vegan restaurants in the city, Candle 79 lives up to its reputation.

The service is attentive, and waiters are knowledgeable (ask for wine recommendations – they have a great selection).

We went for dinner, but heard that the brunch is pretty good, too. We will definitely try to go (and write another review)!

Their sister restaurant, Candle Cafe, is just down the street, and also worth a try.

Contact information, photos & more  


#7 Hangawi

“Eating with conscience, vegetarian meals that nurture the body and soul”.

Pull the heavy wood door open, take off your shoes, and escape the din of the city. A serene, candlelit space where traditional Korean cuisine is created to benefit minds as much as bodies.

We shared the combination pancakes (leeks, kimchi mushrooms, kabocha pumpkin, mung bean) – cut in quadrants and easy to share. The Avocado Stone Bowl was excellent. It is served with a miso glaze and has a hint of sweetness. The sizzling mushrooms were incredibly flavorful and are highly recommended.

Note that their bibimbap options here have a healthier flavor than you might find elsewhere.

Recommended: Organic avocado bibimbap or stone bowl, Tofu stone bowl rice with sesame leaves.

Contact information, photos & more  


#8 Blossom

Creative vegan dining in Chelsea. Blossom was started in 2005 by Pamela Blackwell and Ronen Seri – the first of now four fully vegan restaurants in the city. The restaurant offers a good number of gluten-free options and organic wines.

We particularly recommend the Port-wine Seitan and the Pistachio & Pepper Dusted Tofu. Appetizers are excellent – the Porcini Cigars never disappoint.

Recommended: Port Wine Seitan, Rigatoni in Porcini Cream, Cauliflower Risotto.

Contact information, photos & more  


#9 Sacred Chow

The chef places a huge emphasis on the quality of ingredients, and makes sure that no animals are harmed in the making of their meals. Come with a few friends and share a number of small plates – grains, vegetables or proteins.

The place is small but inviting, and offers a large selection of gluten-free, soy free, and sugar free options.

Recommended: Thai-Ginger: BBQ’d Seitan, Mama’s Soy Meatballs Pan, Shredded Nama Gori*Spa Salad.

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#10 Dirt Candy

You will need to plan in advance to be able to sit at one of Dirt Candy’s 19 seats. But once you are there, you will be highly rewarded. Here, the vegetables are the stars – not simply an accompaniment to seitan or tempeh.

We recommend the Jalapeño Hush Puppies to start, followed by the Smoked Broccoli Dogs.

Recommended: Jalapeno Hush Puppies, Beets.

Contact information, photos & more  


# Want to see more?

Check our map of veggie-friendly restaurants in NYC.