Bay Area Filipino restaurant switches to all-vegan menu, saving it from closure

DALY CITY, CA — From Pinoy appetizers, entrees, to dessert, Nick’s Kitchen in Daly City, might seem like your run of the mill Pinoy restaurant.

But take a closer look at the menu and you’ll find that the establishment, owned by Kenny Annis and Reina Montenegro, isn’t serving up your typical meat-heavy Pinoy cuisine — it’s vegan.

From lumpia with textured vegetable protein, pancit palabok with konjac shrimp, and even halo-halo,  everything on the menu is meat and dairy free; a decision Kenny and Reina made that both challenged their culinary creativity and also saved their business.

It was in 2015 when Kenny and Reina bought Nick’s Kitchen, but later found that business was not booming.

The couple, who switched to veganism years back due to health issues, were faced with a tough decision.

 

In 2017, Nick’s Kitchen made the switch to serving an all-vegan menu, switching up their revenue from $50 a day, to $2000 a day.

 

With veganism on the rise, the demand for vegan restaurant dishes is as well, including vegan versions of Pinoy favorites: sisig, kare kare, and adobo.

“We use soy protein a lot of times, we use jackfruit, we use artichokes, we use oyster mushroom, so there’s a lot of really meaty vegetables out there.”

“It really definitely satisfies what it could be what the dish would be if its tocino or sisig if they use that imitation meat for it, it definitely fulfills its job,” said Ava Tong.

For some customers, it’s not as much about the ingredients, but rather the memories and feelings Filipino food brings.

 

“There’s something about the authentic taste that you get from Nick’s Kitchen that really ties me back to how I grew up Filipino,” said Dante Casuga.

Nick’s Kitchen is opening up another branch in South San Francisco. As for what’s next on the menu: vegan lechon kawali.

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