20 January 2012

John's of 12th Street—the Vegan Restaurant?

Something strange is going on over at John's of 12th Street, the century-old Italian eatery that has long been a bastion of solidity and tradition in the ever-morphing East Village. First of all, it seems as though the classic old neon sign has been taken down and replaced with a new facsimile.

Furthermore, and more shocking, the old red sauce joint is now vegan! Or partially anyway. They seem to still serve the Italian classic dishes, but there is also a vegan menu. Nothing against vegan food—it's not my choice, but I can see the virtues in it (if I squint a lot)—but it hardly seems a good fit for this place. Still, if it helps them remain competitive and brings more people in, I suppose it's a good thing. As long as they never scrap the old menu.

According to a comment on JVNY, the owners of John's worked on this menu for an entire year before debuting it and they are very excited about it.

UPDATE: The neon sign has not been altered. John's owner wrote in to say that it's "the same neon John's sign that's been there nearly forever, but the white background was cleaned up and painted a while back." Whew. He also said the old menu will never be abandoned, and the new vegan menu has brought in new customers.


Fat Al said...

That is ridiculous. What the hell is "Daiya Cheese"? And there is no such thing as "Vegan Alfredo Sauce."

Anonymous said...

I walked by this the other day and was legitimately puzzled.

Roberta said...

Hey, I frequented John's many a time as I am a native NYC person. But times change and our diets should as well. The animal products we grew up on were a lot safer and healthier than the ones being foisted on us now by big corporations and factory farming. Vegan Italian has tremendous benefits to our health, the health of the planet and to our palates. Be open. Check out my blog

Love your blog...by the way, do you know the name of a soul food restaurant that used to be located on 12th Ave in the 20's, maybe?

Anonymous said...

The times they are a changin' (towards vegan) and here's why: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE and http://www.veganvideo.org

Ken Mac said...

every old joint needs new customers. cool.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog. It really wakes me up and reminds me to take a look at what's (left) around. This is what makes the city inspiring. You cover a lot of ground and it's really, REALLY good, dedicated, heart felt work. I'm also happy to see that we both live in the best neighborhood in Brooklyn and I've really learned a lot.
John's is a great place and I got to say that adding the vegan menu is a really brilliant (while keeping the original menu). This is how to get fresh blood into an old place that a lot of people probably walk by and never check out. It's easy to make good Italian food vegan and keep its integrity. It shows that they are thinking about their food, the customers, and the future of the restaurant.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Gee. How nice. Thanks, MW!

Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

Giving a new face to an old classic.