Vegans have been able to get their pizza fix at Albany's Little Anthony's for the past five years. But if you had a large group to feed in the Capital District, and you wanted to go vegan with more than pizza, well...that was a little tougher.
Now Little Anthony's owner Pat Battuello owner is expanding his vegan repertoire. Battuello has joined forces with local vegan blogger Nicole Arciello Berhaupt and the two are working to start an all-vegan catering service called Food For Thought.
So if you ever need a tray of vegan baked ziti (with "ricotta" made from tofu and cashews) to feed a large group, well, now you're in luck.
See, Battuello, whose father started Little Anthony's in the early '80s, has been vegan for about seven years. He says a book of writings by philosopher and "Animal Liberation" author Peter Singer helped inspire the decision to go animal product-free. He even has a T.U. blog about animal rights.. Back in 2007 he tried opening a Vegan Cafe next to The Lion Heart on Madison Avenue. The Cafe didn't last, but Pat thinks he may have given up too soon.
He met Nicole through his blog and back in August they started kicking around ideas for another vegan business. Nicole's only been a vegan since February, but was vegetarian for four years before that, and her enthusiasm for "veganizing" foods is almost infectious. She says she's a foodie at heart and believes this is a great way to show people that being vegan doesn't have to mean subsisting solely on rice and vegetables.
They've gotten together an entire catering menu and are also working to get some of their products (mainly baked goods) sold around the area. You can already get some of their desserts at Schenectady's Moon and River Cafe and at Zero Gravity Laser Tag in Albany. Maybe it's just me, but there's something about being able to get vegan snacks while you play laser tag that's just kind of cool.
So what's the menu like? It's heavily Italian, owing to the FFT team's backgrounds, and includes things like baked ziti with vegan meatballs, soy chicken parm with ziti, and vegan lasagna (all are $35 for a tray serving 8 people.) There's also quinoa-black bean stuffed peppers, pasta fagioli and a wide array of desserts, among other things. (I tried some of the fudge - it's rich and almost brownie-like. )
Food for Thought will begin hawking their wares this Sunday at the Schenectady Greenmarket and they're also on the waiting list for the Troy Winter Farmers' Market. And they'll be doing their first official catering order this week.
If it all works out, another vegan cafe might not be far behind.
Little Anthony's/Food for Thought
1095 Central Ave.
Albany, NY 12205
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