It would seem the country is going vegan, one state at a time! Boyertown, Pennsylvania recently saw the opening of its first all-vegan grocery store. Married couple Michael Martinez and Loriann Wade had opened up the Firefly Cafe, an all-vegan restaurant, in the area in 2016, but decided they wanted to expand and create a full vegan experience. Their addition of a grocery store also includes a room above to rent — complete with cruelty-free beauty products and plant based cleaning materials. For those looking to see the vegan lifestyle in all its healthy and delicious glory, Boyertown is the place to go.
“It really feels like now we have the whole package,” Wade said, explaining the popularity of their place. “A lot of people come for the whole experience. They want to grab something to eat, then shop.”
The Firefly Cafe offers a number of delectable vegan dishes, such as a pulled plant based pork sandwich made with barbecued organic jackfruit on a toasted multi-grain bun. All of their ingredients — from the plant based chicken substitutes to the mouthwatering chipotle mayo — can be enjoyed in the restaurant and then purchased for personal home use in the grocery store next door. Tammy Stamm of Reading routinely travels 40 minutes from her home for the plant based proteins the Firefly Cafe offers, claiming that she’ll meet with some friends that live locally for lunch and then do a bit of shopping for those hard-to-find vegan products (like Wade’s vegan miso dressing and jackfruit pulled plant based pork) at the outpost.
Wade claims that the favorite, fastest-selling item is their variety of vegan cheeses.
“A lot of the vegan cheeses that are more widely available are not always so good,” she said. “I really pride myself on our cheese selection because I’m very, very picky with vegan cheeses.”
Wade and Martinez have managed to create a healthy and delicious place that gives back to the community; by eliminating those pesky perceptions and showing residents and visitors how yummy vegan eating can be, their restaurant and grocery store encourage even those who aren’t vegan to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Since replacing meat with plant based foods can lower your mortality rate by 20%, the future really does seem to be vegan!