Kiki Adami is the vocal vegan everyone hates. When she decided to change her restaurant GustOrganics from a paleo to a vegan menu, investors revolted, causing the shop to close its doors. Her love for animals and the environment has stayed strong, however. Adami now runs Veganizer NYC, a company that makes restaurant menus vegan for one-night-only events in hopes that more restaurants will add vegan options permanently. “If all restaurants had half their menu vegan,” Adami says, “things would be so much better in the world.”
When a restaurant participates in Veganizer, they spend about two months coming up with dishes that are almost identical to their usual menu items, just minus the dairy and meat. Adami says she likes to work with meat-heavy places like burger restaurant Keg 229 because “I want to show people that if these restaurants can veganize, anything can veganize.”
Many of the restaurants that have participated have added permanent vegan menu items or hosted more vegan nights after their event. However, some say that they already have a strong customer base and that adding vegan food might not increase business enough to pay for the special ingredients. Despite this hesitation, Adami helps restaurateurs by setting up contacts for them with vegan suppliers in case they do want to make the switch eventually.
Another branch of Veganizer has already been established in Brussels and Adami dreams of having one in every major metropolitan in the world. She is using her knowledge of and contacts in the restaurant business to try to work against animal cruelty, the obesity epidemic, and harming the environment. She describes her passion for the project as “working for a big picture.”