News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Meaden & Moore

Don Drumm Studios


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Social Issues




Veganism comes to Cleveland's Public Square
The owner of the Flaming Ice Cube calls it "compassionate cuisine"
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Courtesy of Zachary Duvall
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Veganism has a popular new outpost in the heart of meat-and-potatoes Cleveland. WKSU’s Vivian Goodman takes us downtown for a Quick Bite at the Flaming Ice Cube.

LISTEN: If an ice cube can burn, "Anything is possible."

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (7:26)


It was a lucky break for Michele Barratt when the Horseshoe Casino opened next door to her vegan café on Cleveland’s Public Square. 

You wouldn’t typically think that casino goers are going to be patronizing a vegan establishment," says Barratt, “but it brings people downtown. There are a lot more people walking around.”

She opened three years ago across from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and, ever since, a steady stream of customers has been coming through the antique door of the renovated Park Building into the Flaming Ice Cube vegan eatery.

Not for vegans alone
Barratt says most of her patrons are carnivores.

“We get some people who come in kicking and screaming with a friend. Those are the people that I love because I really love introducing people to veganism.”

Barratt’s been influencing diet and lifestyle choices since 1997, when she opened an aromatherapy parlor in Boardman.

In 2002, she turned that into a vegan café. By then Barratt had been eating vegan herself for only about two years.

She’d been a vegetarian off and on for many years, and an animal lover all her life when she had a sort of epiphany.

So you’d go to the zoo and you’d admire the tiger. Then you’d go to the snack bar and eat a cow. So I didn’t get that.”  

Missionary zeal
Today she’s a woman on a mission.

“To make the world a better place. We officially call it ‘compassionate cuisine’ because we’re all about animal compassion. And the goal is to offer delicious food that is appealing to everyone’s palate, and it just happens to be vegan.”

Fruit-only smoothies, pizza, paninis and soups are offered along with six kinds of meatless burgers. Something like chicken is on the menu, too, but its spelled chick’n.

“It goes back to our mission to introduce veganism to people who aren’t vegan,” says Barratt. “So therefore we do have a lot of pseudo-meats here because that’s what’s comfortable for people who aren’t vegetarian or vegan."

No need for eggs, cheese or milk
She says it’s easier these days to find substitutes.

“Ten years ago vegan cheese was not so hot, but now actually they melt and pretty much you cannot discriminate from a regular dairy cheese. In baking, there is a product called egg replacer which is a tapioca-based product, and if you want to do scrambled eggs, you can do scrambled tofu which is delicious. There’s soy butter. There’s soy milk. There’s almond milk. There’s hemp milk.”  

Barratt says what’s vegan and what's not is a matter of interpretation.

“White sugar is a gray area. Some people say white sugar’s vegan, some say it isn’t. Some white sugar is processed over charcoal that has charred bone in it. However some filtered water is processed the same way, and I have never met a vegan who wouldn’t drink filtered water. So it’s really a gray line and everyone draws that line a different place.” 

National recognition
There’s general agreement, though, about the Flaming Ice Cube’s grilled soy-based vegan burger. Last fall VegNews magazine voted it one of the nation’s 11 best. At the Boardman Flaming Ice Cube, it’s topped with a cilantro and walnut pesto sauce and at Barratt’s Cleveland café, she serves it with a basil-pistachio pesto, vegan mayo, onion and lettuce.

Barratt has no culinary training but lots of ideas.

“And our menu is a compilation of different recipes that I have come up with. We have different employees who have contributed recipes. Even some guests who’ve come in and said, ‘Here’s a great recipe if you want to try it.’”

One of her own proudest creations is the Asian quinoa bowl with sautéed Asian vegetables. She adds grilled marinated tofu and the café’s signature peanut sauce and plum vinaigrette.

More than a café it’s a brand
Other enticements include cupcakes, midnight fudge brownies and what Barratt says is her most popular sweet treat, the peanut butter crunch bar.

“That is sort of the gateway drug into the vegan world,” says Barratt. “Sometimes it’s called peanut butter crack bar.”

 The confection even has its own web page.

“We were going to market it. We talked to some supermarket chains. And then we just got so busy with the café that we didn’t have the resources to move forward with that. But that is an option for the future.” 

Barratt’s business already extends beyond food to vegan-friendly bath and body products, incense, candles and yarns. There’s a knitting lounge and yoga and meditation classes at the Boardman Flaming Ice Cube.

“It’s really a brand and a lifestyle and hopefully by next summer we’ll have a cookbook with some of our favorite recipes in the café.” 

Michelle Barratt dreams big. She says that’s the meaning of her café’s name.

“It is. 'Anything is possible.' If an ice cube can flame, anything is possible.”

And that’s this week’s Quick Bite.

Next week, we go over to what Michelle Barratt would call the dark side in a search for the perfect hamburger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

The food here is amazing!! I had the chickenless wrap and it was delicious. My meat eating fiance even loved it there!


Posted by: Keili (Barberton, OH) on August 30, 2013 10:08AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook






Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio lawmakers propose grants for home construction for disabled people
We have been trying to have a "Visitability Bill" passed for years. Thanks, Greg

Lake County crimes may give Trump immigration fodder
Shoddy reporting at best. "Mixed views" The question that came to my mind was, "How many people did he have to interview to get "mixed views". Do the two peo...

Ohio's U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announces plans to improve Medicare by lowering prescription costs for seniors
Sounds good. I'm living in Florida to escape the snow. So far it's working. I retired from GM in 2000. Keep pushing for all the working people. In the long run ...

The tiny town that time, and elections, forgot may go out of existence
Thank you for this story. I grew up in Limaville, my parents home is there still...unsellable due to the septic/sewer problem. Sometimes I am sorry I left...wis...

Where Ohio'sJohn Kasich stands in the presidential polls
We are fans of Gov. Kasich since he served in the House of Representatives. It pleases us to finally see him as the potential President of the United States. We...

Cleveland hosts the first national Movement for Black Lives conference
What a wonderful experience this was, So much love and understanding, without all of the other distractions that tend to come with organizing for change, this e...

Air Force unit gets training and Youngstown gets rid of some eyesores
Do they have to totally destroy all the beautiful oak and leaded windows, which I am thinking are probably there? Do they just have to destroy them like that? C...

Jewish challah and Native American fry bread at an Akron cultural exchange
Each time I saw the young students relate to each other, I got goose bumps. These young students can and hopefully will teach all of us to live and respect eac...

One of the Cleveland Orchestra's most celebrated musicians bids farewell
I had the honor of studying with Franklin Cohen in the late 80s and early 90s. He is unparalleled both as a clarinetist and as a musician. His deep personal war...

Summa's dress code is not 'etched in stone'
SOME OF THESE POLICIES ARE A COMPLETE JOKE. UNLESS YOU ARE DOING THESE TYPE OF JOBS EVERY DAY, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IS COMFORTABLE AND REASONABLE OR NOT. UNLESS ...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University