Today, NuLeaf - an all-day, fast-casual plant-based restaurant from Craig Cochran and Michael Pease - opens the first of two locations at 23 W. 23rd Street. A second location will open after Labor Day at 888 8th Ave.
NuLeaf’s core menu items will focus on a wholesome approach and balance of both everyday food cravings and eating fresh - serving salads and bowls as well as sandwiches and wraps. Nearly all produce on the menu is sourced locally from New York and New Jersey farms, and NuLeaf is partnered with reputable companies like Blackbird Foods for other quality ingredients.
While curating the menu, Cochran relied on his favorite childhood recipes and set out to reinvent them using wholesome, plant-based ingredients without compromising great flavors and taste. Cochran worked alongside the culinary team to develop recipes that have the same satiating qualities, but are fully plant-based.
The menu is divided into three sections: bowls, salads, and handhelds with a variety of sides, smoothies and shakes. Menu highlights include: Chorizo Fiesta Bowl with Blackbird seitan ‘chorizo’, seasoned rice, cashew ‘sour cream’, guacamole, black bean & corn salsa, tortilla chips, and lime cilantro vinaigrette; Scramble Bowl with sauteed and scrambled tofu with red peppers, onions, smoky-maple mushrooms, avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, and kale with tomatillo avocado salsa; BBQ Bowl with BBQ Blackbird seitan, baked beans, kale slaw, corn bread, corn salad, guacamole, and lime cilantro vinaigrette; Grilled Peach Salad with mixed baby greens, jicama, herbed ‘goat cheese,’ sweet & spicy candied pecans, and maple balsamic dressing; Chickpea Tuna Sandwich with chickpea ‘tuna’, ‘cheddar’, tomato, red onion, and mayo served on focaccia; Buffalo ‘Chicken’ Sandwich with buffalo ‘chicken’, lettuce, celery, onion, and blue ‘cheese’ dressing served on focaccia; PB Cookie Dough Shake with cookie dough ‘ice cream’, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, and soy milk; Green Power Smoothie with kale, banana, pear, almond butter, and soy milk.
“My goal was to create a menu that has traditional comfort dishes and items that satisfy cravings,” says Craig Cochran, co-founder of NuLeaf. “When I first started eating plant-based in college, I worked to recreate some of my favorite meals from growing up while using natural ingredients, and the NuLeaf menu is the result of years of perfecting these classics.”
NuLeaf’s first location at 23rd Street includes 46 indoor seats with 16 outdoor, to be added later this summer. The second location at 888 8th Ave includes six indoor seats. Both restaurants will feature a signature plant wall installation with touches of wood and black steel throughout. The live plant wall at the 23rd Street location boasts more than 1,800 tropical plants. Customers will be able to eat beneath lush greenery for a welcomed break and change of scenery. A convenient self-pick-up area for to-go orders has been added to the front of each store for ease.
NuLeaf is open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Flatiron location is at 23 W. 23rd Street, and the Hell’s Kitchen location is at 888 8th Ave. NuLeaf will be available for dine-in and takeout its first week, with plans to add both in-house delivery and use of third parties like Seamless, Grubhub and Uber Eats shortly after opening.