There are a number of reasons the vegan diet is very popular, whether it's because it's healthy or just a fad. Regardless, new shops are opening up across New York, making going meatless a mission.
Don't be fooled by what used to be and has some remnants of this old Subway sandwich shop. Prominent in Syracuse's Armory Square District, Razzle Dazzle joins a growing army of businesses with a slightly confusing menu.
"We have cauliflower fried chicken, we got oyster fried chicken, We have seitan fried chicken," says owner Reverand Curtis Levy.
There's no meat, no dairy, but plenty of classics.
"We do 'mac and cheese,' collard greens, candy yams and Spanish rice... corn on a cob and cornbread," lists Levy.
Moving from North Carolina with his family, Levy took his passions and a keen business sense to the Salt City.
"I was talking a little bit about it, and I said, 'you know what, strong hearts the only person in town that's open.' I told my wife, 'why don't we try and do a vegan corner in the mall?' You know, we wanted to see the vegan community and what kind of outcome we would get, so we went and we started it," said Levy.
Business in one of the hearts of the Salt City's downtown neighborhoods has gone well, says Levy, even as the pandemic has changed the way so many restaurants operate.
"You just see drivers, you know what I mean? But that's the new norm," said Levy.
Deliveries, take-outs and plenty of catering to be had while the storefront isn't bustling. There's a growing clientele, as Central New York has more happening, says Levy.
"Most of our clients are actually people that don't live here," said Levy. "People from Washington, from Connecticut, from California are making a movie here. We got a whole cast of people that come here that are vegans."
The new range of customers has given Levy time to reflect.
"A lot of vegan establishments are attached to something they understand. Our attachment is Last House on the Block Ministry."
The vegan food helps pay the bills and expand one passion for the good reverend with proceeds going into the higher calling. It's far from Levy's first time in front of a camera advocating for Last House on the Block.
"The ministry is a halfway house for people that have a difficulty in learning housing. And so our biggest concern was how can we hold out looking at the financial quarter?" said Levy. "It's the last house. We get people that's been to 15 rehabs and in prison for 25 years, you know. We've worked with the parole reentry program so we were able to get people that no one believed in."
"We wanted to be able to sell people vegan food, but not be as expensive because it is expensive to eat," he continued. "It's not really about what we do, it is what we do it for."