BOYERTOWN PA – Cheese is out, now banished from the recipes and menu at the highly popular and fully vegan Firefly Cafe, 12 N. Reading Ave., and a proposed expansion is in consideration, according to cafe owners Loriann Wade and husband Michael Martinez. The couple is starting the new year with improved ingredients and big plans, they told local business advocacy group Building A Better Boyertown in its most recent newsletter.
Firefly opened its doors only last April (2016), and according to many customers was a success from the start. Its varied takes on vegetarian favorites, and the addition of several edible surprises, won it raves from a growing customer base, patrons reported. To stay true to its roots, Wade said, going fully vegan and replacing dairy cheeses used in its dishes with plant-based alternatives “is something we always hoped to do.”
“Since opening, we slowly started to remove dairy items from the menu with positive feedback from our customers,” Wade noted. The switch drew praise and support from Firefly’s Facebook community. Its diners’ responses and “the improved quality of vegan cheeses … has made the transition from vegetarian to vegan pretty seamless,” Wade said.
Going vegan, however, turns out to be only the first of several big changes in store at Firefly.
The couple sometime this month expects to introduce what it calls a “grab-and-go” selection of prepared foods that diners can take with them to work or events. It will feature items such as vegan chicken and egg salad sandwiches, vegan sides like potato and quinoa salads, and house-made vegan dressings.
In coming months – maybe by this fall, the couple hopes – Wade and Martinez are working toward opening a vegan general store adjacent to the cafe. Customers will find grab-and-go items there as well, but also specialty and hard to find vegan products, natural bath and body products, and even holistic dog treats.
Current customers like what’s being discussed. “There’s a huge need for this type of vegan outpost in the area,” said Wade, thankful that expansion plans have drawn a positive response. Firefly also may become home to catering services, and explore offering vegan cooking classes.
The couple also plans to continue hosting pop-up vegan stands at local and regional events. It’s already scheduled to supply Caribbean-inspired vegan items during its “Reggae Nights,” on the fourth Thursday of the winter months from 7-11 p.m., at The Other Farm Brewing Company, 128 E. Philadelphia Ave. The next is scheduled for Jan. 26.
Photo from Firefly Cafe