Our Independent of the Month for July is Orchard Grocer! This New York vegan deli and food market is a must visit on the Lower East Side.

About

Orchard Grocer is best known for their sandwiches from their deli counter (take a look at their Instagram for drool-worthy food photos!). Their menu includes sandwiches filled with fresh vegetables, VioLife cheeses, and more – you’ll savor every bite! If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, salad bowls and sides are also available at their deli. Besides items available at the deli counter, customers can shop in the “grocer” sides of the store. Vegan sauces, dried goods, frozen items, drinks, chocolates and other sweet treats line the shelves. Lucky NY residents have the option to order through GrubHub and other delivery services.

Vegan Vanilla and Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream in a cup.  Topped with pink, purple, blue, yellow, and white sprinkles.
Vegan Soft Serve! (photo courtesy of Orchard Grocer IG)

Q&A

We wanted to learn more about this east coast store, so we got in contact with one of the owners, Erica, to ask a few questions.

Q: When did you open?

A: We opened in February 2017.

Q: Do you have plans to expand to more locations?

A: While it is something we talk about and think about a lot, we definitely don’t have any immediate plans. We know how much time and energy we put into this location and until we have the resources to duplicate that, we are just going to work on perfecting things at our one location.

Q: What are customer favorites (from the sandwich menu or store items)?

A: Our customers love our Bowery sandwich, which is our take on the NYC breakfast sandwich made with our housemade tofu egg, tempeh bacon, and cheese on a fresh roll.
People also love our selection of vegan cheeses. Also, I don’t think a week goes by that we aren’t out of taquitos 😃!

Be sure to ask what the daily sandwich special is when you visit! (photo courtesy of Orchard Grocer IG)

Q: Do you get a lot of veg-curious shoppers or exclusively vegans?

A: It is hard to tell if someone is necessarily vegan or not. We definitely get our fair share of excited vegans (having MooShoes right next door) definitely makes us a little bit of a destination. We are also very lucky to be in a neighborhood that is very open to what we are doing, so we have regulars that are not vegan and simply come daily because they enjoy the food.

Q: What is something most people are surprised to learn about your store?

A: I think people are surprised by how much of our food is house-made. We are a small space but our amazing staff gets it done!

Q: Can you explain more about why your store is palm oil free?

A: When we first started talking about opening, I was also learning quite a bit about the palm oil industry and how much destruction it was causing and how much havoc it was having on the habitats for the orangutans and other animals and I knew we just couldn’t support it. It’s amazing to us how many other business and food producers are also going palm oil free. We are so excited by how much demand there is for it now.

Q: Anything else you would like to share?

A: We are very gluten free friendly. One of the owner’s sons has celiac disease and this has pushed us to take cross contamination very seriously. 

“Consider it a one-stop-shop for cruelty-free cravings. A haven for compassionate convenience. A deli for a better world.”

A Note from the StarLite Cuisine Team

We are working our way east from sunny Southern California into more stores, and hope to available near you soon. Send us an email with a suggestion of what stores you shop at, and where you would like to see our products!