In Melville, a “Refuge” Emerges for Vegan Restaurant-Goers

This Tofu Parmesan ain’t your nonna’s pasta dish (but it’s just as good).

For all you vegan food lovers out there, as well as those of you who may be afraid to go vegan, now is your chance to try a four-course vegan menu at The Refuge Food & Spirits, located off the 110 corridor in Melville.

On Wednesday, June 7 at 7:00 p.m., executive chef John Ferrara will masterfully create a meat-free, creative, and delicious plant-based menu.

The Refuge Food & Spirits, which opened in November 2014, is a busy 7,500 square foot restaurant on Broadhollow Road which features “a modern twist of both Latin and Italian cuisine with a nod to the classics that came straight out of grandma’s kitchen.”

According to managing partner Jay Grossman, “We wanted to create an accessible restaurant that would appeal to the corporate clientele that work on the Route 110 corridor, as well as serve the social dining scene for those who live in the area.”

As time went on they discovered there was another need to be filled, and that was to accommodate those customers on vegan diets.

The Refuge’s mantra? “Veganism is not another dining trend that will come and go. It is a lifestyle choice that is here to stay.”

Where most restaurants offer one or two vegan dishes, if any, The Refuge’s menu features six vegan items which include pizza, beet sliders, tofu parmesan, roasted squash and root vegetable with quinoa, seitan tacos, and a quarter pounder which features a vegetable barley, bean-base patty. All dishes are 100% vegan, and all cheeses are cashew/almond based and dairy-free.

No dairy? No problem. The Refuge’s vegan pizza is dairy- and meat-free.

Since their vegan menu has been such a hit, the restaurant decided to do a four-course vegan tasting dinner. For starters, there will be homemade focaccia bread with four different types of homemade Tuscan dips. The second course will feature stuffed vegetable cannelloni over cauliflower rice. For an entrée, guests will enjoy tofu buckwheat fried rice with sautéed seitan and harissa citrus slaw. Of course no meal would be complete without dessert, so a decadent chocolate peanut butter pie will be served. The four course dinner is $39.95 per person plus tax and gratuity. Select vegan wines can be paired for an additional $12 per person.

“Being that we are in the hospitality industry, we want to do our best and try to cater to all demographics with food that is not only creative but delicious,” said Grossman.

Chef Ferrara, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, started working at The Refuge and K.Pacho Mexican restaurant in New Hyde Park in 2009. Along with his cooking, he specializes in menu development and catering services. Previous jobs included working for John Anthony’s on the Water, Harbor Club, Coco’s Water Café, The Vanderbilt and Steamboat Landing in Glen Cove. With his extensive background in food and catering, he came to understand the needs of his vegan clients.

So find out what all the vegan buzz is about, and head on over to The Refuge on June 7. Reservations can be made by calling 631.577.4444.

The Refuge Food & Spirits is open Monday – Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Sunday, brunch from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday dinner until 10:00 p.m.