This family founded a Vegan Soul-Food restaurant

Black History Month – Shining a light on families building legacies rooted in love.

Happy Black History Month, Fam! This year, we pay homage to the rich history of the past while celebrating the changemakers of the future. Throughout February, we’re spotlighting couples, siblings, and families building legacies rooted in black love who are making history in their own unique way. Support these business owners and also let us know in the comments if there’s anyone you’d like us to highlight next year! Wishing you a month of black love, black pride, and reminders that black history really does happen every day.

Meet the co-founders of Seasoned Vegan

Chef Brenda and Aaron Beerer

Chef Brenda and Aaron Beener (Credit: @kimjuliehansen/Instagram)

Location: Harlem, New York

Their story : After Chef B’s ​​husband went plant-based, she began experimenting with tasty but still nutritious recipes for her kids. Years later, with a burning passion for cooking, she founded Seasoned Vegan with her son, Aaron. Together for over a decade, they served Harlem and changed the conversation around plant-based eating.

black love: How was the concept of seasoned Vegan born?

Cook B: For a very long time, I wanted to open a restaurant, and I asked my mother, and she didn’t want to, but I always wanted to. I worried about my community. After talking with neighbors and friends, I began to see that they didn’t like vegetables, and I wanted to show them that vegetables could taste good and be healthy for you. Many of them suffered from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc., and I wanted to make a difference.

black love: Share your first memory of Black History Month.

Aaron: My earliest memory of Black History Month was honestly school and feeling frustrated getting to know the same leaders every year and wanting to learn about new people to feel empowered in different ways.

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black love: How long have you been vegan?

Aaron: I have been vegan for nine years and my mother is going twenty. My father was the first person to use plants in the family. I was ten at the time; this is another part of Seasoned Vegan’s origin story. My mom faced the challenge of creating plant-based meals for her husband that her young children could also enjoy. Over the years, people started showing up at our house at dinner time, and everyone was like, “If I could eat like this all the time, I’d go vegan,” and that was one driving forces behind the creation of Seasoned Vegan.

black love: What has been the impact of Seasoned Vegan on Harlem?

Aaron: I feel like Seasoned Vegan is continuing in the Harlem tradition of being innovators and leading the pack. In New York, there’s this energy of recognizing a problem and facing it head-on. Being vegetal and observing that we had to leave our neighborhood and sometimes travel miles to find a vegetal neighborhood was something we wanted to address. Our heritage as melan people is agriculture, we created it so the idea that we couldn’t find places in our own neighborhood to find healthy meals was a problem, so who better than people community to fix it. We have become a beacon for healthy living and healing through nutrition and community. We’ve really been able to be effective for people in our community.

Cook B: I also wanted people to see that a vegan lifestyle is possible and that it can be tasty. So many people have told us that we’ve changed the face of our community, and people who normally wouldn’t want to experiment with vegan food because they were set in their ways, visited us and were glad they did. . We have led by example and the atmosphere of the restaurant is welcoming and the love we share we give to each person who enters. People feel at home and in an environment where people really care about them.

black love: What does it mean to you to build a legacy alongside each other?

Cook B: Deep down, I always wanted something my family could own, and I couldn’t have had it better than having it with my son. It was hard at first to learn and understand, but having this business with my son has been extremely rewarding. He’s been the backbone of Seasoned Vegan – it’s a wonderful experience to have company with someone you love. I am very happy to have a legacy to leave to my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and I hope it will continue even after this.

Aaron: The co-operative economy can greatly enable our people to create an environment where we can thrive, and that starts with the smallest units and that is the family. Part of our example of healthy living is how the family can work together to create economic opportunities for themselves that extend to the whole family and the community as a whole. Our bond as Mother and Son is powerful, and there is an immense amount of love there. It makes it easier to share that love with our employees, in the food, our customers and the neighborhood. And speaking of heritage, my daughter grew up at Seasoned Vegan. She was five when we opened the restaurant – her name is written on the floor, as are my nephews. Our family grew up there, four generations, we all put energy into Seasoned Vegan. It’s a family affair.

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