It’s a fact: smart, entrepreneurial and super cute vegan chicks are taking over the world (or, at least, parts of the US). By Chloe, a chic, hip and cute-sy vegan fast casual restaurant, has had steady lines out the door since they opened July 28th of last year.
Don’t be mistaken though: BC is pretty much vegan fast food. OK, so the vegan component probably makes it slightlyyy healthier, but this is no trip to the health emporium by any stretch of the imagination.
BC has a strong brand presence due to its rampant labeling of everything — down to their ink-stamped coconut shells, branded napkins and burger wrappers. It’s pretty much a vegan McDonald’s.
While that’s all fine + dandy, it kind of gets annoying to think about how much ink, paper and packaging they waste on things like burgers, fries and huge cupcake boxes for a tiny ass cupcake. Even if it is recyclable, isn’t it better to not have to recycle so much in the first place?
I did come across an article on their website featuring Dekar Design, the company responsible for BC’s interior. They stated that they used “only natural, non-animal derived materials for by CHLOE” and “rediscovered recycled timber for the tabletops and hemp for the fabrics.”
Of course, using anything “repurposed, recycled, reused” is now a hot selling point in many establishments, to the point of being tired. Just say you guys didn’t buy “new” shit and I’ll be cool with it… because at this point, it’s really not a virtue to mention it all the damn time. Luckily, they don’t tout it all over the restaurant like a ton of other hipster vegan places I’ve been to, though, make no mistake: BC is FIRMLY a hipster honeypot.
The interior of BC isn’t like any fast food restaurant (and neither are the price points, mind you) you’ve ever been in. It’s a bit like Pier 61 meets West Elm meets Liquiteria: patterns everywhere, succulents on their shelves, “quirky” mod-décor. It’s clear this place was designed to be instagrammable, lulz.
I’ve been to this By Chloe only once (it’s far too expensive for me to go all the time) but that’s enough for me to make an accurate distinction on the service. The cashiers are joyless and have a bad attitude, the kind you’d expect at a grocery or dollar store, not an overpriced vegan fast-casual establishment. I was there around 9:15 in the morning, too — so it’s not like the place was super packed or overworked.
The restaurant in general functions much like a cafeteria. There is zero table service. You pick up your order at the front and find your own seats. This proves annoying, as they basically yell out your name really loud (they have no ticketing or buzzer system… or they don’t use it until they get really busy) from the same counter you order food at. During lunch rush and other high volume times, the front of the restaurant becomes insanely crowded due to all the people on the line being right next to the ones waiting for their food.
I realize real estate in NYC costs more than 50 years at NYU, but there’s gotta be a better way to handle their burgeoning customer base (awesome that there’s so much demand for vegan food, by the way!). Champs recently instated a “text when ready” table service, and I think BC should do so as well for their food pickups (since we all look at our phones while we wait for our food, anyway).
Purple Rain Smoothie:
First off, $8.50 for a smoothie? It better be ahh-mazing. It was actually quite good. Kinda tasted like drinkable blueberry yogurt. I did think it was a bit too sweet, more like a drinkable dessert than a healthy one. Needed to flush it down with water to get the sugar out of my mouth. They do use fresh fruit though (the abundant presence of seeds was evidence of that), so there was that.
Maybe I’ve been a bit spoiled by Champs; I expected more of a portion for what I paid (9.95). I did enjoy the dish, overall; but I don’t think it was worth the portion I got.
Their soysage patty had a soft, almost veggie burger-like consistency that I wasn’t expecting. I’m more inclined to patties that have a chewy, elastic feel. It didn’t taste bad, though. Just wasn’t a fan of the texture.
I did, however, like their chipotle aioli, which I pretty much used as a dipping sauce for the patty. It’s pretty sweet — much like honey mustard. It’s nice that they let you pump as much as you want, just like a true fast food joint!
One line rhyme-ary:
Fast vegan food might look pretty, but after a while it makes you feel shitty.