Comfort food – Latin vegan style

Vegan & Juice is a little gem tucked away in strip mall in Florida.

The restaurant closes its doors by 6 p.m. every night but it hosts a large lunch crowd hungry for an alternative to regular fast food fare.

The small restaurant serves up some Latin comfort food favorites. The dishes are steamed or baked but never fried, and as the restaurant’s name suggests, it is all vegan.

“No animal products, no chemicals and everything is fresh,” says owner Juan Cabrera.

The restaurant – which has been open for 12 years – was Cabrera’s answer to his own struggle at lunch time. He said he hated eating at fast food chains and struggled to find a healthy place to eat.

The owner admits that Latin vegan food is a tough sell, but he says it is the full flavor of the food customers fall for.

“When they come over here they say they don’t have to eat meat because the food is so good,” he tells NBC 6.

Cabrera says you don’t have to follow a vegan diet to find something on his menu you’ll love.

Whether you’re in the mood for rice and beans, and sweet plantains, or veggie pizza, there’s something for everyone. There is also a selection of vegan desserts, like key lime pie and apple crumb cake to satisfy your sweet tooth.

If you are not convinced that no meat on the menu can still be delicious, Cabrera offers a challenge.

“Try it first. Try the food first,” he says with a smile.

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