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The Short Version: Located in New York’s Theater District, P.S. Kitchen is the perfect date night spot for couples who are looking to minimize their negative impact on the environment and who want to enjoy a vegan feast with a side of charity. Jeff, the general manager, said he believes that good food and improving the world can go hand in hand, and P.S. Kitchen is proof of that.
When looking for the perfect date spot, few people consider the ethical and environmental impact of the restaurant they choose. At popular restaurants, employees are often underpaid and overworked, and the business itself creates a massive ecological footprint between food waste, overbuying, and use of unethical meat vendors.
P.S. Kitchen, an American vegan restaurant located in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, has all of your environmental and ethical concerns taken care of. The restaurant was opened in 2017 by two philanthropic business partners from the world of Wall Street who had been donating to charities for many years. They realized that they could create a social restaurant business that both creates jobs and donates to charity. The result was P.S. Kitchen, which employs people who are experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, and sex trafficking, as well as individuals who were previously incarcerated and may struggle to find sustainable employment.
General manager Jeff says that, with its fully plant-based menu, P.S. Kitchen is rooted around helping people and animals, and making the world a better place. This makes it the perfect date night spot for couples who are looking to maximize their positive impact on the world — and who want to experience a phenomenal vegan meal.
Not only does P.S. Kitchen employ formerly incarcerated people and victims of domestic violence and homelessness — it treats them like family so they are incentivized to maintain their job and get back on their feet.
Minimum wage in New York City is $15, and P.S. Kitchen boasts that it pays all employees above that rate — which is huge given that New York is the most expensive city in the United States. P.S. Kitchen also helped one employee who had recently served a 30-year prison term by setting up his cellphone and email. “It’s not like you get out of prison and they give you a bus fare to get anywhere,” Jeff said. “They don’t explain to you how to use a cell phone, or where to send an email, so we just helped him with that.”
P.S. Kitchen’s priority is seeing that everybody behind-the-scenes is having a good time and getting everything done so diners can also have a good experience. The restaurant also throws parties for the staff and ensures that everybody is fed at all times. The company ethic clearly works, too; the business boasts many long-term employees who have been at P.S. Kitchen for more than two years, which is rare in the restaurant industry.
Eating at a restaurant that cares about its employees feels like a rarity, especially when bad behavior is normalized as part of being a chef, and restaurant abuse is regularly brought to light at high-profile fine dining institutions. Being able to enjoy food prepared without a side of abuse is, unfortunately, a treat. P.S. Kitchen is a safe bet for diners who are wary about how restaurants treat their employees and want to have a romantic dinner at a restaurant that truly takes care of the world.
At P.S. Kitchen, veganism doesn’t mean forfeiting flavor. The restaurant’s American Vegan cuisine includes salads, sandwiches, pasta, and burgers. The menu for soups, appetizers, and desserts rotate seasonally, and Jeff promises that the restaurant serves large portions that won’t leave any diners hungry. Jeff recommends the Buffalo wings appetizer to diners who are new to vegan cooking. These wings are made out of mushrooms but taste like real buffalo wings. The restaurant also has a great bar menu with in-house craft cocktails, beers, and other high end drinks.
Beyond delicious food, P.S. Kitchen’s romantic atmosphere makes it a great spot for a date. The dining room is decorated with artwork, neon signs that are great for photos, and a pink floor that gives the space a modern feel.
In the evening, the staff turns down the lights and lights candles on the tables, giving the space that classic date-night feel.
P.S. Kitchen’s prime location in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen makes it a convenient stop for couples looking to eat before or after a Broadway show. The restaurant is right in the middle of the Theater District, with “Hadestown” playing down the street and other big Broadway theaters within walking distance.
“There aren’t really any other good vegan vegetarian options in this neighborhood in terms of a date spot, so we do get quite a bit of people coming in for that,” Jeff said. Trying out a new cuisine and then going to a Broadway show is the perfect option for a couple looking to broaden their horizons and experience both culinary and theatrical art. The Theater District is a place of culture and pushing limits, so P.S. Kitchen is a logical addition to the neighborhood.
The best part about P.S. Kitchen? You don’t have to be a die-hard vegan to enjoy the food. Jeff estimates that about 75 to 80% of diners are nonvegetarians, and the restaurant has made it a priority to introduce the benefits of a plant-based diet to meat eaters, and show that reducing meat intake doesn’t mean losing flavor or enjoyment.
“So many people, even if they’re not vegans or vegetarians, really don’t eat a lot of meat. Especially younger generations,” Jeff said.
I avoid red meat for environmental and health reasons, but am hesitant to fully commit to being vegetarian or vegan. I was raised eating meat with every meal, so it’s difficult to believe that a plant-based diet can be as nutritious or as filling as an omnivorous diet. This is why restaurants like P.S. Kitchen are so important. They expose people who would usually frown upon plant-based diets and show them that meat does not have to be a tenet of every delicious meal.
P.S. Kitchen doesn’t have any signage that indicates that it’s a vegan restaurant, so it can market to all diners and hopefully push people out of their food comfort zones. The restaurant shows the masses who are trickling out of Broadway shows that reducing your environmental impact through your diet is possible, and it’s delicious.
With P.S. Kitchen as your date spot, you can emerge from the restaurant with an intention to reduce meat in your diet and help the Earth. Next time you travel to New York City, unwind at P.S. Kitchen before your Broadway show and experience the culmination of all things delicious and ethical.