When I first began my journey as a freshman nutrition major from the suburbs of Philadelphia, I knew I’d be immersed in SU’s college-student food culture filled with processed, dining hall meals and junk food options available on our famous Marshall Street. I am ashamed to admit that it was not until my sophomore year that I wondered off the hill for the first time and began to search for something more. It was not only good food I was after — I was on a quest for restaurants with a cause — ones that wanted to make a statement, and ones that strive to give back to the community — a standard I was familiar with from my upbringing, and a qualification that was pertinent in my dining options at home.
Strong Hearts Café was everything I had been looking for and more. This completely vegan café not only offers an eclectic menu, ranging from curried-mixed vegetable tofu “egg” scramble for breakfast, to a winter kale salad with walnuts, sweet potatoes, and beets drizzled in a light agave and mustard dressing for lunch- both are personal favorites, but it also offers over twelve sandwich options, over forty milkshake options, and over twenty pizza options as well. And if this is not one of the biggest vegan menus you have ever seen, they also offer snacks, sides, and organic, fair trade coffee- supplied from recess coffee, another wonderful, local café, located right up the street from the E. Genesee location.
This café — from personal experience, numerous recommendations, and a variety of positive reviews — not only offers an extensive menu, but provides something more — community support. Owners Nick Ryan, a Syracuse University graduate, and Joel Capolongo, an active member in the Syracuse Animal Defense League, are both experienced, practicing vegans who stress the importance of purchasing local ingredients from central New York farmers to execute their hefty menu, as well as support their immediate community. The cafe uses zero styrofoam and plastics, as well as no meat, dairy, cholesterol, high-fructose corn-syrup, artificial sweeteners, or trans fats. The owners take care that all food waste is properly composted. Their 100 percent biodegradable and compostable food packing speaks strongly to their care for our environment, and their relationship with the local community development credit union speaks to their devotion to locality and sustainability.
Stronghearts Café is truly music to my ears, an option nutrition majors focused in food studies, like myself, can only dream to discover. This unique café should definitely be welcomed warmly to our Syracuse University campus, and frequented regularly. Eating at Stronghearts Café is an impeccable way to support your community, eat mindfully, and of course, enjoy the most delicious, environmentally friendly cuisine on campus!
By Taylor Appel