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August 2005
I Don’t Know, Where Do You Want to Go? A Review of NYC’s Atlas Cafe
By Maureen C. Wyse

 

Walid Hammami. Photo by Kevin Lysaght
Walid Hammami. Photo by Kevin Lysaght

Some of many bonuses of being vegan in NYC are the restaurants upon cafés upon health food stores in every village and borough. Moving from one vegan capital, Seattle, Washington, to this one, I have always been grateful for the multitude of tasty vegan choices available. I am a lucky one, and even luckier to have vegan friends that enjoy eating as much as I do. The only drawback to the plentitude of eateries is what I call the ‘vegan dining guessing game.’ We’re all familiar with the problematic, Where do you want to go? I don’t know, where do you want to go?—that cyclical round-about that only leaves stomachs empty and friends frustrated.

The solution goes by the name of Atlas Café (or with the frequency that I dine there, (F)Atlas Café!). Amongst the delicacies New York offers vegans, Atlas—while not exclusively veg—simply reigns. A staple, this vegan dining security blanket is always waiting with its patio wide open. With their new, fairly extensive vegan sandwich whiteboard (of which everyone should try the Mississippi chicken chops sandwich), Atlas has many delicious options, including soups, sandwiches, wraps, crépes, and smoothies. As I say, you simply cannot go wrong with Atlas.

But let’s get down to the real deal. Two words: soft serve. Chocolate or vanilla, this summer treat is blended to the perfect creamy consistency—vegan heaven in a cup. And yet, it doesn’t end there. Vegan oreos, peanut butter, granola, coconut, carob chips, and never ending variety of berries, fruits, and other candies, are available to perfect your dessert. The tofu soft-serve (either flavor) with peanut butter and strawberries—my personal favorite—puts this place on the vegan map.

Also, don’t pass up the practically infamous Vegan Treats display that taunts you the minute you step into the petite café. Atlas boasts the best selection of Vegan Treats in town and at the lowest price—only four bucks a slice. Delivered fresh on Tuesdays, chocolate strawberry shortcake, chocolate peanut butter bomb, brownie top and bottom cheesecake, boardwalk fudge cake and the lemon lime layer cake can fool any non-vegan, hands down. Vegan Treats also provides Atlas with a selection of equally delectable brownies, whoopie pies, cupcakes and puddings.

When the predicament arises of where to eat, there is never a second thought. With a constant stream of out of town friends and a perpetually thin wallet, Atlas is always my answer. Plus the owner Walid, with his charming smile, creates an inviting atmosphere in what could be easily written off as another cramped East Village café. Atlas, you have my heart…and stomach.

Atlas Café is located at 73 2nd Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets. For information call (212) 539-0966.

 

 


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