Austin’s critter-free comfort food restaurant
The US is deep in a health-care crisis, based largely on how people eat – and largely is the operative word. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report an American obesity epidemic, with obesity rates doubling for adults (and tripling for children) since 1980. Obesity and poor diet are associated with heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure – the Four Horsemen of disease.
Consumer awareness is increasing demand for good, healthy food – and as they reexamine what they eat, people also want alternative food sources that fit their evolving values and standards. In some cases, that means animal-free food.
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Animal agriculture, by some estimates, is responsible for eighteen percent of greenhouse gas emissions – more than all transportation combined – and for eighty to ninety percent of US water consumption. Awareness is also growing about the inhumane conditions and environmental toll of corporate farming practices that are commonly part of bringing animal products to the dinner table.
In Austin, if there’s a demand for a type of food, there’s a trailer. Sue Davis opened Counter Culture, Austin’s first all-vegan food trailer, in 2009. Three years later, she had investors – and a brick and mortar location for Counter Culture Restaurant in the heart of the new, improved, and happening Central East Side.
Sprouts and tofu cubes over brown rice, right? Nope. Try Mac’n’Cheeze, Walnut Beet Burgers, Artichoke Dip, Coconut Cream Pie, local beer and wine. Sounds like comfort food, and it is – without cholesterol or cruelty. Counter Culture is part of a new breed of vegan dining that’s introducing people to new food choices by serving flavorful meals, made from scratch, that promote long-term good health.
The menu at Counter Culture is designed to minimize waste, 95% of which is compostable and/or recyclable. To minimize environmental impact, Sue obtains as many ingredients as possible from local food sources, reducing energy expended in bringing them to market. Inspired by sustainable development, she emphasizes organic ingredients.
Counter Culture is also a community gallery for local artists and hosts fundraisers, documentary screenings, and informative speakers. Oh, and it isn’t entirely animal-free, technically – there’s a dog-friendly patio.
Counter Culture Restaurant serves made from scratch plant-based food, with soy and gluten-free options, Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-10pm. Weekly specials, weekend brunch. 2337 E. Cesar Chavez (at Clara), 78702.