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LesbiVeggies, a Black- and queer-owned vegan café, to open in New Jersey despite pandemic

  • January 23, 2021

plant-based meals in her community. 

Lambert grew up in Lindenwold, New Jersey, eating non-vegan foods like most everyone else, not caring about cooking or what she was eating. 

But in high school, she was introduced to the plant-based lifestyle that awakened an appreciation for food and cooking, leading her to start her business LesbiVeggies, reports the Cherry Hill Courier-Post, which is a part of the USA TODAY Network.

When doctors were unhelpful with some stomach issues she was having, Lambert took matters into her own hands and found a plant-based diet was the best way to help. The health issues soon ended, she said, but stuck with the diet. 

LesbiVeggies owner Brennah Lambert holds a plate of eggplant parmesan and spaghetti as she stands in front of her plant-based and gluten-free Audubon cafe that is slated to open in February.

“Plant-based food has given me kind of almost a love for just quality good food,” Lambert said. “I think at first I was kind like — obviously I didn’t grow up this way — so I was like, ‘well what do I eat,’ so I really had to rethink my whole way of doing things.”

Lambert said she was “kind of like the black sheep” of the family because her family didn’t have a “health-conscience energy” growing up. 

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LesbiVeggies owner Brennah Lambert prepares eggplant parmesan and spaghetti in her plant-based and gluten-free Audubon café that is slated to open in February.

Representing veganism in Black and queer community

LesbiVeggies is a meal-prep and catering service, based in Lindenwold. In February it will also open as an Audubon cafe.

The name LesbiVeggies is an homage to Lambert’s queer identity and veganism. She said it was important to highlight her queer and Black identity so guests know who she is and others within those communities feel welcomed and comforted. 

“I feel like me throwing that out there … promotes inclusivity,” Lambert said. “I want people to feel that this is a very open environment, a very welcoming environment. I don’t want any one person to feel misplaced, so I feel like that’s what it means to me with people coming in my place.”

LesbiVeggies owner Brennah Lambert holds a plate of eggplant parmesan and spaghetti as she stands in her plant-based and gluten-free Audubon café that is slated to open in February.

With little representation in the vegan industry, Lambert also felt that being a Black-owned vegan food service and café would inspire the Black community to try vegan foods. 

“In the Black community, I feel like a lot people think that plant-based food is something you really have to shy away from,” Lambert said. “So I think that me owning this business and me putting that out there is kind of like a stepping stone for the Black community to take, like OK now we can identify with this.”

Lambert didn’t expect there to be any pushback from the Audubon community and so far there hasn’t been.

There may be people who are taken aback by the name of her cafe, she said, but “the way that I present the logo and the quality of food, the professionalism behind the whole brand, I think shuts those people down a little bit.” 

Cultivating a ‘knack for making [vegan] food taste good’ 

Three years ago, a family member looking to lose weight asked her to cook for them and spread the word about her cooking to friends at a Marlton gym. Soon, the whole gym was asking Lambert to feed them. And that’s when she started LesbiVeggies. 

A plate of eggplant parmesan and spaghetti is displayed in LesbiVeggies, a plant-based and gluten-free Audubon cafe that is slated to open in February.

“So that’s how it started — definitely by accident but it grew into this and it’s something I’m passionate about,” Lambert said.

Over time, Lambert has perfected and built popularity for her meal-prepped food, paving the way toward her goal of opening a brick and mortar. As she worked on her delivery service, she was able to slowly build funding through a GoFundMe

Despite having no culinary background, Lambert pursued this new venture supported by her degree in business from Rutgers-Camden. But it was her exploration of veganism that inspired her “knack for making food taste good” and led her to master skills to prepare craveable vegan dishes. 

LesbiVeggies has meal options like buffalo cauliflower with buttermilk ranch.

“Practice makes perfect, cliche but the experience has definitely helped me learn more about plant-based foods, how to prepare things correctly like technical things … I’ve definitely gotten better over the years,” Lambert said. 

Lambert already serves customers in delivers to South Jersey and Philadelphia, delivering most of the meals herself. She plans to expand into a shipping service so she can get rid of the delivery aspect.

HQureshi@gannettnj.com or 856-287-8106.

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