For Caribbean Cuisine That Delivers, Try Next Stop Vegan in the Bronx, New York
Blenlly Mena and her sister Ana Baez founded Next Stop Vegan to offer Bronx residents and other New Yorkers healthier plant-based Caribbean fare. Born in the Northern part of the Dominican Republic, Mena and Baez were eager to share their love of their traditional food, but vegan, and are offering a different culinary experience. Their mission is to offer up a menu of vegan island fare that is meat and dairy-free, so their customers can eat healthier yet delicious vegan versions of all their most beloved Dominican dishes.
Think eating vegan is boring? It's not, according to the founders of Next Stop Vegan, which is open for pick up or delivery within an easy distance of this unique Caribbean outpost on Archer Street in the Bronx. Specializing in traditional Dominican dishes, Next Stop Vegan is living proof that anyone who loves Caribbean style food can eat vegan and love it. The sisters want to help their fellow lovers of Caribbean food that they can improve their diet through fresh and accessible plant-based meals while maintaining a connection to the Caribbean culture.
“Our goal is to create innovative and flavorful menus that constantly challenge the erroneous perception that vegan food is bland and tasteless,” Mena commented. If you have not yet tasted the food, it is “off the hook.”
Dishes like sancocho, locrio, chimichurri, mofongo, mangu, and just about any Dominican crowd-pleaser you can think of can be found at Next Stop Vegan’s onsite location and food pick-up and delivery service.
Like many small businesses, this family business started because Blenlly wanted to help her sister improve a medical condition. Blenlly, who at the time was living in South Korea, had a small group of friends who were enjoying her plant-based versions of classic Asian dishes. When Ana shared her condition with her sister, Blenlly returned home under one condition.
“I made my sister promise me that she would eat a plant-based diet and that I would prepare the meals," Blenlly recalled. Ana accepted, Blenlly moved back to New York City, and got to work cooking. Ana loved the food, so much so, that they started preparing meals together. What happened next surprised them both.
“We come from a culture that eats meat three times a day. Meat is a part of our culture, so when we saw so many people gravitating towards our plant-based food, we had hope that there is an opportunity to change the hearts and health of our beloved Dominican community through our business,” Mena said.
What started as Blenlly, Ana, and their mother, has now grown into a team of like-minded people offering healthy, affordable, plant-based options to those who live in the Bronx, and throughout New York City and across the GW Bridge into New Jersey. It’s not just Dominicans who are loving this food. It's beloved by anyone who wants to eat healthier Caribbean food and avoid animal products for any reason.
Next Stop Vegan, like every restaurant in New York City, had to get creative to stay open during COVID. They extended their hours and offered new items weekly. While their hours and menu items change, they’re mission and cause remain the same.
“I have witnessed my family members depend on daily medication for the rest of their lives," Mena said. I lost my father to a heart attack and he was sick with diabetes prior to his passing. I am taking it upon myself to create an awareness for our community to look around them, become aware and change their eating habits so that they themselves don’t become another statistic just like our parents.”
Next Stop Vegan is open for takeaway every Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 pm with equal parts delicious food and positive energy. Next Stop Vegan is at 1818 Archer Street
Bronx, NY 10460. Phone: (347) 398-8166