Tag Archives: Benson Brewery

Fall 2017 Brew Tour

September 22, 2017 by
Photography by Doug Meigs and provided

When temperatures drop and leaves crunch underfoot, Midwesterners crane their necks at the gray sky and try not to think of daily commutes soon to be spent in darkness. The wind is picking up, and the days grow shorter and shorter. Winter is coming, fellow Omahans. It’s time to find refuge from the cold.

Where better to stay cozy than in one of the metro’s growing number of microbreweries and affiliated brewpubs?  Read on for a complete list of venues producing and serving local beer (listed in alphabetical order). Choose a barstool, lest you are left out in the cold.

Benson Brewery
6059 N. Maple St.
402-934-8668
bensonbrewery.com

Adorned with wood floors and hipster lamps, Benson Brewery is situated in a remodeled space that was once home to a movie theater (in the early years of the 20th century). Enjoy a cold Karha-T as your body warms inside; this English ale is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and vanilla, and is the perfect autumn beverage. Or choose one of the other nine beers or hard cider on tap.

Brickway Brewery & Distillery
1116 Jackson St.
402-933-2613
drinkbrickway.com

Also a distillery, this brewery has the unique ability to age their beers in whiskey barrels and their whiskey in beer barrels. Brickway keeps their Oktoberfest traditional, and this amber brew is featured at their Oktoberfest event, where attendees get to drink this beer straight from the tank it was brewed in.

Farnam House Brewing Co.
3558 Farnam St.
402-401-6086
farnamhousebrewing.com

After years of traveling Europe to study the best beers, the owners of Farnam House emphasize Old World-style brews with a Belgian and German influence. Thus, it is no surprise that they are proud of their Oktoberfest brew, aged for six weeks for a well-rounded and mellow finish. Their Spiced Tripel is another fall favorite packed with gravity.

Granite City Food & Brewery
1001 N. 102nd St.
402-393-5000
gcfb.com

A national brewpub franchise, Granite City locations brew beer on location. From their Batch 1000 Double IPA to Broad Axe Oatmeal Stout, Granite City has something for everyone. They offer an Oktoberfest and a Vanilla Porter on a seasonal basis, so get it while it lasts (and maybe snag some waffle fries, too).

Infusion Brewing Co.
Benson
402-916-9998
6115 Maple St.

Southwest Omaha
402-934-2064
6271 S. 118th Circle
infusionbrewing.com

A meat market turned brewery in downtown Benson, Infusion Brewing Company prides itself on adding unique ingredients—such as vanilla or cocoa—to their beers. In 2016, they also added a second brewery/tap room location on the edge of Sarpy County. Look out for their fall favorites: Infusionfest and Red X IPA. Vanilla Bean Blonde Ale is their top-seller through the year.

Jaipur Brewing Co.
10922 Elm St.
402-392-7331
jaipurindianfood.com

Located in Rockbrook Village, the Jaipur restaurant features a fusion of authentic Indian cuisine and on-site brewing of several unique beers. Their Jalapeño Ale offers a hot “kick” particularly appropriate for cold days. The restaurant’s owner says Jaipur has been selling beer since first opening in 1992—making it Nebraska’s first and Omaha’s longest-running craft brewery.

Kros Strain Brewing Co.
10411 Portal Road, Suite 102
402-779-7990
krosstrainbrewing.com

Brand new to the La Vista area in 2017, Kros Strain Brewing is “Nebraska Fresh,” a motto that is featured on their 24-foot mural that highlights beers set for release. Try one of their startup brews: Helles Creek, Dark Paradise, Fairy Nectar, and Supa Juice.

Lucky Bucket Brewing Co.
402-763-8868
11941 Centennial Road, Suite 1
luckybucketbrewing.com

Lucky Bucket Brewing Company hit the ground running in 2008 with their Pre-Prohibition Lager, perfected over time spent experimenting with barrel-aged beers and unique flavors. This eventually developed into five year-round beers and four seasonal favorites (including an Oktoberfest, which they boast “even Bavarian Prince Ludwig would trade his bride for”). Their Conspiracy Series also offers limited batch beers, and the brewery’s sister distillery—Cut Spike—offers craft liquors at the tap room.

Nebraska Brewing Co.
La Vista (tap room)
6950 S. 108th St.
402-934-7988

Shadow Lake Towne Center (brewpub)
7474 Towne Center Parkway, Suite 101
402-934-7100
nebraskabrewingco.com

Nebraska Brewing Company’s six standard beers offer year-round easy drinking for those who enjoy the hoppier side of the spectrum. If that’s not your ballgame, no worries. They also offer more than a dozen seasonal brews, along with several high-end craft options in their bottled Reserve Series. For those seeking something truly unique, there is the experimental Inception Series—barrel-aged beers that come in limited supply with names such as “Ninja Gnome” and “Fuchsian.”

Pint Nine Brewing Co.
10411 Portal Road
402-359-1418
pintninebrewing.com

Named for the traditional pint and nine ounce bottles that came to us from Europe back when we had to depend on them for good beer, the folks at Pint Nine appreciate a good German lager or English ale. But that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate innovation. All you have to do is check out their Pink Peppercorn Wit or Hot Burst Blonde to realize that. The Papillion tap room just opened summer 2017.

Scriptown Brewing Co.
3922 Farnam St.
402-991-0506
scriptownbrewing.com

Do you know about “session beers?” Scriptown specializes in these brews, which feature a lower ABV than other craft beers, allowing for hours of drinking, conversation, and fun. If you’re looking for something a bit stronger, try Dmitri’s Revenge, a Russian Imperial Stout at 9.4 ABV.

Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing
17111 S. 138th St. (Springfield)
402-253-2479
soaringwingswine.com

This vineyard is more than just grapes. Soaring Wings offers nine specially brewed beers, ranging from a light, American-style lager to their hefty Imperial Stout, aged in wine barrels for six months and tipping the scales at 10.7 ABV. Be sure to enjoy the covered deck and beautiful vista of the Nebraska countryside while the weather permits.

Thunderhead Brewing Co.
13304 W. Center Road, No. 126
402-802-1600
thunderheadbrewing.com

From humble beginnings in Kearney, Nebraska, Thunderhead expanded eastward to the Big O in 2016. Enjoy beers with clever names like “Your Argument is Invalid” in their lovely indoor and outdoor spaces.

Upstream Brewing Co.
514 S. 11th St.
402-344-0200
upstreambrewing.com

Upstream Brewing Company has been open since 1996. They boast of being Omaha’s “original brewpub,” and they offer on-site brews and a rotating selection of cask-conditioned ales. While this brewery specializes in ales, they always take the time to age their popular Oktoberfest brew, which is malty and smooth.

Vis Major Brewing Co.
3501 Center St.
402-884-4082
vismajorbrewing.com

Vis Major, Latin for “act of God,” boasts of treating craft brewing as an art form, emphasizing intricate nuances of taste and complexity. Their Proverbial Pumpkin ale is the go-to for fall, sporting hints of cinnamon and other spices. Their tap room opened in between Field Club and Hanscom Park during 2017.

Zipline Brewing Co.
721 N. 14th St.
402-475-1001
ziplinebrewing.com

Born in Lincoln, this 5-year-old brewery opened a satellite Omaha location next door to Film Streams’ downtown location in 2017. Zipline emphasizes adventure, sustainability, and connecting with customers. Try something dark this fall with their Coconut Stout, or go the more traditional route with their Oktoberfest inspired Festbier, a crisp lager to match the weather.

This article was printed in the September/October 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Groovy Gravy

January 12, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

UPDATE (Jan. 12, 2017) : After the publication of the January/February issue of Encounter Magazine, Cask Republic announced that it would no longer sell poutine.

“We realize that the food aspect, especially the poutine, was not financially viable,” says Ryan Frickel, co-owner of Cask Republic. Snacks will soon be available, and the bar allows patrons to bring in food from several area restaurants.

* * * * *

Foodies generally regard the 1950s as the nadir of 20th century cuisine in North America. It brought us TV dinners, jello salads, and tuna casseroles. However, it also brought us a Canadian dish that, depending on your disposition, is either a trinity of salty, starchy, fatty goodness, or a cardiologist’s dream for stirring up new business (in truth, it’s probably both).

Poutine is, essentially, french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. Like the Reuben sandwich, there’s been a few claims to its origin, but the general consensus is that it came from rural Quebec in the late 1950s. It’s a prominent staple for restaurants downtown (Block 16) as well as Benson (1912, Benson Brewery). For the Cask Republic bar in Dundee, it’s their primary focus.

Co-owners Ryan Frickel and Craig Lundin opened Cask Republic this past summer in the former home of the popular French Bulldog restaurant. Frickel came to the decision to focus on poutine after eating it in Benson last year. Frickel says there have been poutine-focused eateries sprouting up on the West and East coasts for the past few years. Frickel wanted to be the first in Nebraska to have such an eatery.

“Who doesn’t like meat and potatoes in Nebraska?” Frickel says.

poutine1For their version of poutine, the Cask Republic double-fries their french fries to get them crispy enough to withstand the heavy coating of gravy. Their beef gravy (they also have chicken and vegetarian variations) is a combination of homemade beef stock, spices, herbs like rosemary, and some chicken. Finally, their cheese curds, served at room temperature, top the dish. When you bite into one of the curds, it should sound faintly like a dog toy.

“If it’s not squeaky, then people in the poutine world get super pissed off,” Frickel says.

Like other greasy spoon staples such as hamburgers and hash browns, there have been plenty of high-end takes on poutine. 1912 has a variation that includes duck. Block 16’s gravy incorporates a red wine reduction. The Cask Republic has poutines that include burnt ends, and even “seasonal” poutines, including turkey for the holidays. Still, focusing your menu on dish that’s basically french fries and gravy is risky. Frickel, however, compares poutine to other dishes that are now commonplace around Omaha.

“[We] kind of likened it to sushi, where 20 years ago, people in Omaha either didn’t know what sushi was or never tried it. But on the coast, it was starting to explode,” Frickel says.

Of course, if you’re going to clog your arteries with starch, cheese, and gravy, you might as well go all out and wash it down with a brew. That’s where beer comes in at Cask Republic. Frickel and minority- owner Alex Gunhus are both beer enthusiasts; they traveled to breweries throughout the United States to come up with their beer menu. Frickel says he eventually wants to build his own brewery inside the Cask Republic.

“There’s nothing like that in the Dundee area, which blows my mind,” Frickel says. “We want to be the first to do that.”

Visit facebook.com/caskrepublic for more information.

Al Fresco Fever

May 27, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The stars and seasons have aligned, giving you free time on a beautiful day. Birds chirp, parks bustle, flowers bloom. Eager to enjoy a cage-free couple of hours, you urgently text friends from your desk: “Get thee to a patio!” The clock strikes 5 and you’re off quicker than a cardigan on a sunny, 80-degree day. But where to?

Omahans have access to many fine restaurant and bar patios, but here are some standout gems you’ll want to bookmark for those most patio-perfect days.

Marks Bistro, voted 2016 Best of Omaha Outdoor Patio (alongside Salt 88 and 1912), is a superb option for everything from sharing an intimate, open-air meal with a first date to unwinding with an old friend over a bottle of wine. As you summit the steps from Underwood Avenue you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a lush, romantic secret garden of sorts. However, Marks’ quality menu, wine list, and unmatched atmosphere is no secret. Tucked behind the second level of a stately 1906 Dundee home, Marks’ patio is elegant without putting on airs, and peaceful even when packed with diners clinking glasses.       

“Most of us spend the majority of our workweek inside,” says co-owner Mark Pluhacek. “Sometimes nothing’s more relaxing than dining al fresco and enjoying some good conversation.”

Each spring, Pluhacek and his wife Kristin personally choose and plant the many colorful flowers that, alongside beautiful trees and ivy-covered fences, provide Marks’ trademark garden feel.   

Pluhacek says Marks is currently developing an additional street-level patio to allow guests a choice between the original garden patio and a more active, people-watching space along Underwood. But in both spaces, Pluhacek promises, “lots of flowers.”

Speaking of people-watching, La Buvette offers an excellent vantage point for taking in the sights and sounds of the bustling Old Market while simultaneously transporting patrons to France. Since 1991, this European-style cafe, wine bar, and market has been a popular spot to meet friends for a leisurely afternoon of wine, cheese, and chatting. The ever-changing menu is both basic and epicurean, with divine, fresh, house-baked bread perhaps the sole daily guarantee. The vibe here is “don’t worry, don’t hurry,” so come prepared to adapt to the pace and daily offerings. If you can’t nab a spot on the popular patio proper, don’t fret. When the weather’s right, La Buvette throws open wide doors on either side of its main entrance allowing a flood of sunshine and fresh air inside.      

El Aguila has an under-the-radar patio with high brick walls, colorful plants, and a Spanish colonial courtyard vibe. Lovers of Mexican food and jumbo margaritas will have no problemo finding patio paradise here—occasionally made even more magical by a roving Mariachi band.       

Nicola’s offers quaint romance, the Surfside rustic riverside atmosphere, and 1912 a rooftop option. More great al fresco dining options include Benson Brewery, Jimi D’s, Tracks Lounge, Salt 88, Corkscrew Wine & Cheese Blackstone, Upstream Old Market, Brix Midtown, Dante Pizzeria, and Varsity Sports Cafe & Roman Coin Pizza on the lake at 145th and F streets.

On the bar side of things, O’Leaver’s Beer Garden is Omaha’s outdoor space rookie of the year. Open since September 2015, the high-fenced, spacious outdoor area is a true oasis. O’Leaver’s already had a modest front patio, with a delightfully oddball Friends-themed fence (bearing the names Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe) and new ownership over the past few years has made several upgrades to the indoor space including the addition of a tiki bar area.    

“We wanted to create a whole new vibe outdoors and offer our customers the same special experience, but one that’s very different from the inside of the pub,” says co-owner Ted Stevens.

Indeed, the dimly lit pub contrasts with the bright beer garden, which has a full-service bar on Friday and Saturday nights. Varied seating lets patrons choose between laid-back Adirondacks, barstools, wooden banquettes and benches, small tables, and long, communal picnic tables under an attached pergola. Nature is a key design element, with built-in flower boxes lining the seating area, a miniature weeping willow tree, small pond, and other nice natural touches. Strings of lights hang overhead, twinkling at night with a just-right light.

O’Leaver’s is known for hosting live music inside, and Stevens says they hope to add outdoor movie nights and weekend brunch cocktail parties in 2016, also possibly opening the beer garden bar occasionally for weeknight shows.

Mister Toad’s Pub is a classic with cozy woodwork, stained glass, and book-lined walls, but in warmer months, it’s all about Mr. Toad’s Courtyard. Flower boxes stud the patio and wooden tables interlock around trees, offering the opportunity for privacy or neighborliness at your discretion. The passing action of the Old Market provides plenty to see.        

The Rose & Crown patio is a divey delight with large trees—some even decorated with woodsy faces. Other solid bar patio options include Dundee Cork & Bottle, Krug Park, Marylebone, Havana Garage, and LIV Lounge.

Whatever beer garden, courtyard, or veranda you land on, raise a glass to the patio season and enjoy greater Omaha’s great urban out-of-doors.

Patios

Jane Beran

January 7, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

A cornerstone is a building block of importance, architecturally joining two walls. Metaphorically, it signifies that everything worthwhile begins somewhere, often connecting the past and the future.

In Benson, where business and culture are booming, it is fair to argue that Jane’s Health Market, 6103 Maple Street, has been a community cornerstone since the mid-1980s. It sets the tone. There is a peacefulness in the store that spills out onto the street. Maybe it’s the freshly cut wheatgrass on the juice bar counter or the organic, locally sourced meat, produce, facial cleansers, store branded vitamins, and more lining the shelves of Jane’s where locals go for answers and healthful seekers browse free-range.

The Omahan behind the healthful magic of Jane’s is one of Benson’s most amicable sages, 67-year-old Jane Beran. Jane has been in Benson for 30 years, 25 of those at her current location, which smells of delicious organic soups and sandwiches—especially pleasant this time of year. It’s hard to imagine, but this woman with a patient word of advice for everyone—along with a big glass of carrot juice—is quite reserved on the subject at hand.

“I don’t like talking about myself,” says Jane, who majored in home economics at Kearney State and worked at House of Nutrition for 20 years before moving to Benson. “Let’s talk about the store. This store is my life.”

One day, as she tells it, a realtor wanted to speak to Jane at her desk at Nutrition World. He said she should consider opening a store in Benson, but back in those days, that meant a daunting amount of work in an unrevitalized part of Omaha. Jane was undaunted.

“We decided we wanted to open a juice bar,” says Jane, and the rest was attention to detail, a well-publicized realty deal that kept The Waiting Room in the neighborhood and expertise in knowing which trends and philosophies would pan out.

“The local thing has been a big deal for me. We’re trying to do more local products: arugula, kale, sweet potatoes…I even have a supplier for turmeric and ginger,” Jane says, advocating for a more neighborly economic system. “If you support local people, you keep money in Nebraska.”

To keep healthy customers coming back, Jane uses aluminum-free cookware and will be featuring bone broths in the near future. She recommends juicing with added shots of wheat grass to help with alkalizing and energizing the body, especially for the over-60s.

One might assume the owner of a health food store to be vegan or vegetarian, but that would be embarrassingly off-target in this case.

“I’m not a vegetarian,” Jane says. “I have to be open to tasting a lot of foods for the deli.”

But when it comes to eating out, Jane’s feelers are still out for the veggies.

“My main goal when eating out,” says Jane without hesitation, “is finding good salads.”

Her current favorite is Benson Brewery’s kale salad. Now, that’s better than a Yelp! recommendation.

As 2016 begins and this Benson cornerstone remains at the intersection of 61st and Maple streets, the past and the future show no signs of slipping. It’s gotta be the wheatgrass.

Visit shopjaneshealthmarket.com to learn more.

JaneBeran2

Hoplicious

November 4, 2014 by and
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It is a good time to be alive if you are a craft beer lover. The state now boasts over 20 breweries, with more than half of those right here in the metro. Here’s my list of fave notables to try the next time you reach for a cold one.

Flagship IPA
Upstream Brewing Company
Loaded with hops, this India Pale Ale is a full-bodied, unfiltered ale with a gorgeous amber hue. A generous use of malt offers a mild sweetness to back the robust citrus, piney, hop flavor. Dry-hopping intensifies the wonderful aroma and complexity of this brew.
6.4% abv
Available at Upstream Brewing Company and select bars.

Cardinal Pale Ale
Nebraska Brewing Company
Copper in color with a lasting white head, this beer is the quintessential example of an American Pale Ale. It is hopped with copious amounts of Cascade for a wonderful grapefruit aroma and mellow bitterness.
6.0% abv
Available in cans at craft beer retailers.

Certified Evil
Lucky Bucket Brewing Co.
Dark and ominous, this imperial porter is aggressively hopped and full of roasted malts. Complex, dark fruit flavors of raisin and fig, along with molasses and honey, make this a wonderful addition to a steak dinner or chocolate dessert.
9.1% abv
Available in bottles at craft beer retailers.

Chocolate Pistachio Milk Porter
Infusion Brewing Company
Brewed with English Malt and a generous amount of cocoa powder, this beer begins with a round, full-bodied, chocolate flavor accompanied by notes of coffee and vanilla. With a sweet beginning and long cocoa finish, this porter is a wonderful dessert brew.
5.8% abv
Available on tap at Infusion Brewing Company and select bars.

Jalapeno Ale
Jaipur Brewing Company and Restaurant
A wheat beer base fermented with fresh jalapenos delivers a pleasant pepper aroma and flavor. This is the perfect accompaniment for the spicy Indian cuisine found at Jaipur.
Currently available only at Jaipur Brewing Company and Restaurant.

Brewer’s Duet – Coffee Cream Stout
Benson Brewery
Brewed in collaboration with neighbor Aroma’s Coffee Shop, this beer offers beautiful aromas of coffee and chocolate. Unlike some coffee stouts that can be astringent and bitter, this one is blended with high quality, cold-pressed coffee and brewed with added lactose milk sugar in lending a slightly sweet finish.
6.2% abv
Currently available only at Benson Brewery.

Keller German Lager
Farnam House Brewing Company
An unfiltered German-style amber lager, the cool fermentation temperature yields an extremely crisp and clean beer with a mild bitterness, perfectly balancing the caramel malt profile.  A wonderfully easy-drinking, sessionable beer that is perfect on any occasion.
5.5% abv
Currently available only at Farnam House Brewing Company.

Borgata Pilsner
Borgata
This is a crisp and clean lager with a thick white head. Subtle notes of honey, melon, and biscuit start on the nose and end with a mellow, bitter finish.
4.8% abv
Available in cans at craft beer retailers.

Nut Brown
Zipline Brewing (Lincoln)
Made with a blend of specialty dark malts, this English-Style Brown Ale is a harmonious blend of coffee, chocolate, and caramel flavors. A dark brown sugar sweetness later yields to a dry-roasted bitterness.
5.8% abv
Available in bottles at craft beer retailers and select bars.

Burning Skye Scottish Style Ale
Empyrean Brewing Co. (Lincoln)
Inspired by Scotland’s easy-drinking, malt-forward beers, this brew has a subtle caramel sweetness and a hint of smoke. It pairs wonderfully with grilled game or barbecue.
5.3% abv
Available in bottles at craft beer retailers and at Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill.

 

Chad Rozniecki is the Beer Specialist and Systems Implementation Manager at Brix Wine and Spirits. The professional brewer formerly owned The Lauter Tun craft beer bar in Omaha. Over the last decade he has also bartended at various craft beer bars and breweries around town.

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Isa Chandra Moskowitz

November 4, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a lot on her plate right now (yes, that was a cheap pun. Moving on). She’s just released her eighth vegan cookbook, Isa Does It, she’s wrapped filming an online video cooking series produced by Zero Point Zero, Inc., she designs the Meatless Mondays menu at Benson Brewery, and she’s opening her own vegan restaurant in Midtown Omaha next spring.

It’s all a part of keeping up with the growing momentum of the vegan lifestyle in the Midwest. “I think things are happening really fast,” Moskowitz says. “If I just look at my life here in Omaha for the past three years, things have progressed so fast. I think in five years, everything will be Portland. In terms of vegan, not in terms of fixies.” That’s a fixed-gear bicycle, for the non-hipsters among us.

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Welcome to the dry humor that is Moskowitz. Isa Does It is full of her quips, making the book not only an unintimidating introduction to vegan cooking but also a darn fun read.

The Brooklyn transplant went vegetarian as a teen of the ’80s for no huge reason other than that she likes animals. “As soon as I realized, oh, I can cook without meat, it just worked,” she says. Her mother and sister went along for the ride. “It was kind of the reverse of what a lot of people experience,” Moskowitz recalls. “You go vegetarian, your family disowns you, you can’t eat together. My mom came home with a stack of cookbooks and said, okay, let’s do this, and we all just started cooking together.”

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Moskowitz transitioned to veganism shortly thereafter. She tried things out for herself, checked out how her friends cooked, watched The Food Network, and learned from the chefs at the restaurants where she served.

After admittedly being a little spoiled by the wide variety of ethnic food available in New York, Moskowitz moved to Omaha in 2010 to be with her boyfriend, John McDevitt. “You know, just like every other girl who’s not from here originally. Must be a lot of great Midwest guys here.”

It seems she’s settled in, as she lists her favorite places in town for vegan food: Kitchen Table, Block 16, Amsterdam Falafel, and Crystal Jade. If you order off the Crystal Jade vegan menu, look for the Isa Noodle. “I always went in and ordered a specific noodle with all these changes, so they finally just put it on the menu,” Moskowitz says. “They were like, we’re not dealing with you anymore. It’s seitan, cilantro, broccoli…it’s a noodle dish that’s kind of sweet and spicy and herby.”

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Though she experiments with food from all over the world, her own heritage influences the finished dish. “There’s always a Jewish-grandmother feel to everything I do, even if it’s curry,” she says.

Expect to see this unique style of comfort food on the menu at Moskowitz’s debut restaurant at 50th and Saddle Creek. “We’re going to do brunch and dinner,” she says, “no lunch. I’m going to keep the hours manageable.” Due to her commitments with cookbooks and shows, Moskowitz says she’s not going for a high-volume, high-turnover restaurant. “I want this to be a cozy retreat, like they’re in my kitchen.”

She’s still searching for the perfect partners for the restaurant. “I want my chef, even if they’re not vegan, to just love food,” she says. “I want them to love experimenting, with no pretension. I’d rather have someone who can grill tofu really well over someone who’s like, hey, I can create foam out of flax and banana. Someone who loves feeding people and cooks from the heart.”