Vegans in Washington Heights can give thanks early: The owners of a fledgling coffee shop in the neighborhood have rebooted the space as a vegan-friendly takeout spot focusing on falafel and other plant-based bites.
Forever Coffee Bar, which opened last year on a sleepy block near New York-Presbyterian Hospital, is now Forever Yours Falafel Bar. The coffee shop was an offshoot of the three-year-old location in Hudson Heights.
"The neighborhood really needs that," says Artem Arnopulo, a self-described food enthusiast living in Washington Heights who consulted fellow restaurant owners in the area when making the pivot. "People are craving vegan- and vegetarian-oriented food spots."
He and his wife, Xenia, wanted the new to-go restaurant to have a menu focused on fresh, plant-based ingredients with a Mediterranean vibe. The resulting offerings include made-from-scratch falafel, jackfruit marinated in shawarma spices—the fruit "doesn't have too much taste" and has a texture like chicken, explains Arnopulo—and vegan kofta. Salmon is the one non-plant-based item on the menu.
Customers are meant to build their meals a la Chipotle, first choosing a base like pita, quinoa or green salad; one main; plus a sauce like sweet maple beet tahini, spicy zhoug or tangy tzatziki. Most dishes also come with the terrific house-made pickled vegetables.
The storefront at 502 W 167th Street between Amsterdam and Audubon Avenues, which had a few tables inside when it was a cafe, is now mostly a kitchen with a takeout counter up front. A few tables remain scattered outside, and morning coffee service will resume in a few weeks.
Delivery is available throughout Washington Heights (10032, 10033 and 10040), and the upper part of Harlem (134th Street and higher).