Brenda and Aaron Beener set to open 'Seasoned Vegan' in Harlem on Feb. 22

Chef Brenda Beener and son Aaron
Chef Brenda Beener and son Aaron
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

By Douglas Feiden / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The dream is about to come true for a mother-and-son team of budding entrepreneurs who spent two long years hunting for cash, scouring for sites and conjuring up recipes for Harlem’s first full-service, vegan soul food restaurant.

After winning a business competition, running a successful fundraising campaign online and scoring free legal advice, the pair say they’re finally ready to debut Seasoned Vegan at 55 St. Nicholas Ave., on the corner of W. 113th St.

The planned Feb. 23 opening will bring a savory array of meatless, non-dairy feasts to an area where the consumption of grease, gluten and high-cholestrol animal fats has long been linked to astronomical rates of obesity and diabetes.

“It’s all the food you love to eat — veganized!” says Brenda Beener, the restaurant’s chef, founder and owner.

That means the mouth-watering “barbecued riblets” will be created from lotus roots, the “smothered Southern chicken” will rise from a soy-and-seitan medley and the Cajun-style “Louisiana crawfish” will emerge, as if by magic, from the zestiest yams in creation.

“We want to introduce meat-and-fish-eaters to another way of eating, not to change anyone’s mindset, but to provide more options,” Beener said. “And when you don’t force things on people, they tend to be a bit more receptive.”

Adds Aaron Beener, her 28-year-old son and manager, “We’re a super-strict, 100% vegan soul food restaurant with great appeal to omnivores and carnivores.”

Artists will also be made to feel at home: Seasoned Vegan is building a cordoned-off space where performers can stage live music and hold poetry readings and comedy shows.

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