**Come any time between 6pm and 9pm, stay as long as you want, or leave when you need to. You will get your own check, with tax and tip included.**
John's of 12th Street is the restaurant of your dreams, or at least of my dreams. In continuous operation since 1908 (!), it is a beloved and beautiful Italian restaurant with "red sauce" favorites loved by neighborhood residents, foodies and critics alike. If you want a supreme example of Italian food cooked authentically "like momma used to make" (or your friend's mother :) served in a 104-year-old setting that is utterly charming, look no further.
You might expect to find a vegan Spaghetti Marinara there. But Fettucini Alfredo? Seitan Scallopini? That's the usual problem with a restaurant like this. Sure, these hard-to-find, gourmet, 100-year-old Italian restaurants can serve you pasta and red sauce, but WHERE IN THE WORLD IS THE VEGAN VERSION OF SUCH AN OLD, AUTHENTIC ITALIAN RESTAURANT?
THE ANSWER: RIGHT HERE! In 2011, John's developed a SEPARATE, WHOLE VEGAN MENU with 30 MENU ITEMS! I KNOW OF NO OTHER SUCH 100-YEAR-OLD RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD TO ENGINEER SUCH AN UNDERTAKING. AND BEST OF ALL: THESE DISHES TASTE UTTERLY AUTHENTIC, LIKE THEIR NON-VEGAN COUNTERPARTS!
I was dining at John's earlier this year, and the owner Mike was telling me that (the famous vegan author of "Skinny Bitch") Rory Freedman was there a few days prior, and had to ask three times if her food was vegan. And I tell you, my dinner companion was wondering the same thing. The food is so rich, the cream sauces are so creamy, it's amazing to think these dishes could be made to taste just like their non-vegan counterparts.
Mike said they also MAKE THEIR OWN SEITAN. NO WONDER IT IS SO AMAZING. IT IS JUST MIND-BLOWING FOR ME AS A VEGAN TO STEP INTO A 100-YEAR-OLD RESTAURANT AND ORDER SEITAN PARMIGIANA (WITH DAIYA CHEESE) AND FETTUCINI ALFREDO AND HAVE IT TASTE EXACTLY LIKE THE "REAL THING"!
Vegan Seitan Parmigiana
They've also got such favorites as Pasta Fagiole and Minestrone Milanese soups, vegan Caesar Salad, vegan Ravioli (with either Alfredo or Fresh Tomato Basil sauce), Eggplant Parmigiana (with Daiya cheese), and vegan Pizza (with Daiya cheese). And desserts such as vegan Cannoli and vegan Almond Coconut Panna Cotta! Check their full vegan menu here!
We've had two huge meetups here since John's initiated their vegan menu in 2010, and members have been eager to go back. Truly "one of the last of a dying breed," as Zagat.com raves, "it never loses its appeal." (Also check out the rave New York Magazine review.) As a SuperVegan reviewer wrote, "If you want old-school Italian, vegan-style, John's is your ticket to heaven."
Seitan Alla Rosa
For those of you who have never attended one of our Meetup events: this is an incredibly friendly & welcoming group. It will be easy to find our group: just walk to the back. We have reserved the entire back section of the restaurant for our group. Everyone gets their own check, with tax and tip included. Easy!
Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana
** You are welcome to show up anytime between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM. You may stay the whole time, or feel free to leave whenever you need to. If the room gets crowded, we may ask people who have finished their meals to move to the bar for a little while. **
Feel free to order from either the vegan menu or the traditional menu (but please no meat orders if you are not 100% vegetarian).
Come join us for a vegetarian/vegan gourmet dinner trip through time.