The Gist: Social enterprise in the form of a boozer
The Chefs: Robbie Rees and Joel Elster
Location: The Green Vic, 46 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3EP
Food in 5 words: Vegan junk with street style
See more: betterworld.love
How did we get here?
Ethics in the food and drink industry has been highlighted in the last year across the sector, with chefs like Holborn Dining Room’s Calum Franklin calling ethical farming a “huge topic of conversation” for 2019 and supermarkets introducing initiatives to take advantage of data that shows consumers want (and, to a certain extent, are willing to pay for) more ethical experiences.
Market research company Mintel, for instance, revealed in May that people spent £8.2bn on ethical food and drink produce in the past year, up 43% on sales five years ago.
Just last week, Lidl adopted labels that distinguish the different levels of animal welfare of various poultry products, and before that The Co-op introduced the first sustainability bond for a retailer, raising £300m to fund its Fairtrade commitments on the back of figures that showed a 15% increase in Fairtrade sales between 2016 and 2017.
Into this buzzing area, it’s not surprising that a pub claiming to have superior ethical credentials has popped up – and it had to happen in London’s Shoreditch, didn’t it?
What’s different about it?
The Green Vic is being marketed as “the world’s most ethical pub,” tackling social concerns, environmental sustainability and animal welfare under one roof.
“I wanted to create a business that made the world a better place, where people can contribute to charity without changing their normal daily routine, has the capability to expand across the UK and combined my passion for partying, so a social enterprise pub was the natural fit,” said founder Randy Rampersad.
Alcohol will be sourced from organisations like Brewgooder, which donates 100% of profits from its craft beer sales to clean water projects in Africa, and Ginerosity, a craft gin outfit that helps young homeless people through education and mentorship. Toast Ale, which brews beverages from surplus bread, will also be available.
Through partnerships with charitable initiatives like Unity Kitchen and Change Please, the altruistic pub will ensure that 25% of staff positions are filled by homeless persons or people with disabilities.
As for the eats, that’s the domain of The Green Grill, a vegan junk food concept that’s been popping up at street food markets and festivals.
June will be busy for the founders of Green Grill, as since the beginning of the month they have been peddling their wares almost every day at brand-new container-based lifestyle hub Crate. The Green Vic, meanwhile, is set to open on June 20th.
Initially, the pub will launch as a three-month pop-up, with an eye to opening a permanent site next year – if people like the idea and it attracts investment.
Let the experiment begin.
You’ve got to try…
The Green Grill may be nutritional, natural and completely animal-free, but it’s also fast food, so burgers are the way to go. The plant-based patties are particularly popular because they’re sandwiched between (naturally) coloured buns for that Instagram-friendly pop.
For the Green Monster (£8), that means matcha-tinged bread enclosing a patty made from peas, spinach, broccoli, red bell pepper and sundried tomato patty, topped with a ‘cheez’ slice and homemade garlic and basil aioli.
Those who still haven’t broken the beef habit though might be more interested in the Mighty Meaty (£8.50), a soy-based patty with crunchy red onion, sliced tomato, shredded iceberg lettuce, gherkins, ‘cheez’ slice and the “top secret” GG burger sauce, all stuffed inside a black charcoal bun.
Sparkie also likes…
The Classic Vdawg, a seitan-based spiced Italian sausage with sauerkraut, fried onions, mustard and ketchup inside a turmeric bun. Whether or not it’s as healthy as the pickled veg, wellness spices and plant-based protein make it sound, it’s definitely dialled up the vegan junk elements to the max.
The paradox of being simultaneously bad and good won’t cause your brain to malfunction.