As plant-based dining gains popularity, finding diverse vegan options can remain a challenge for many. Newark-based fast-casual restaurant Brick City Vegan recently opened at 362 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. Essex County entrepreneur Adenah Bayoh is behind this creative concept, which features modern takes on classic Southern dishes in addition to standbys like grain bowls and salads. Read on to learn more about Brick City Vegan, now open in Montclair.
The Journey to Brick City
Adenah Bayoh grew up in Liberia, later traveling to the US as a teenager, and eventually living in Newark. Her business journey began with her grandmother’s small village enterprises of owning a restaurant, a bread factory, and a farm, where Adenah learned the value of hard work and success. From a young age, Adenah always admired her grandmother, seeing her as a powerful woman who built a life for herself, with no educational background. This sparked Adenah’s aspiration to become a business owner, especially as a woman.
During her college years at Fairleigh Dickinson University, she involved herself in many small businesses, from babysitting to laundry and hairstyling in her dorm. In 2008, she opened an IHOP franchise in Irvington, becoming one of the youngest IHOP franchisees in the country. Since then, she has continued to build her success through real estate investments, expanding her franchise holdings, and exploring new ventures. This concept was a tribute to her grandmother’s belief that high-quality food can be ethically sourced and that a restaurant is a place to bring the community together.
Now, Adenah owns eight restaurants, including four IHOP franchises, and two restaurants in Montclair: Cornbread, located at 372 Bloomfield Avenue, and now, Brick City Vegan.
Read More: Where to Find Vegan Food in Montclair
Brick City Vegan recently opened at 362 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair — right next door to Cornbread. Brick City Vegan’s Newark location is based at 915 Broad Street.
The concept for Brick City Vegan sparked from Adenah’s desire to solve the problem of seeking accessible plant-based options in urban neighborhoods. Adenah told The Montclair Girl in a past interview that after embracing a plant-based diet herself, she felt vegan food was needed in the area.
“I want to give people the option and access to healthier food choices in urban communities, especially underserved ones. People in these communities experience awful food insecurities, she shared. “The neighborhoods are inundated with chicken shops and unhealthy options. My idea was to bring something in that countered that and bring it into the neighborhood.”
The expansion of Brick City Vegan to Montclair has been in the works for two years. From growing up in Newark to starting her first businesses in the area, Essex County has been a central stage for Adenah’s achievements.
During the grand opening of Cornbread last month, Adenah shared her deep-rooted connections to Montclair. She mentioned how she spent much of her Saturday nights at the now-closed Diva’s Lounge during college and that her two children attend school in Montclair.
“Montclair is not new to me. Montclair was always a community I was familiar with, having lived in Newark, so coming here felt good. I always want to be in communities that feel good because it’s not just about opening a restaurant, it’s about having an impact on the community and being one with the people,” Adenah said at Cornbread’s grand opening event on November 8th. She then mentioned that Brick City Vegan was located conveniently right next door.
About Brick City Vegan
The concept at Brick City Vegan is a fast-casual style experience in a modern upscale manner. The ambiance is cozy and fast casual, with a very laid-back yet extremely colorful environment adorned with green leaf walls and a small seating area.
The menu focuses on plant-based comfort food that has been sourced locally. Some of its offerings include plant-based burgers, protein bowls, scratch-made biscuits, and fruit shakes. Customers have a choice of sweet potato, black-eyed peas, or chickpeas from the plant-based burger menu. For those who simply can’t get enough of the vegan burgers, they are available on-site.
Gluten-free options are also available to substitute the burger buns as well as some side dish items such as coleslaw, chickpeas, and black-eyed peas. The menu also features modern twists on regional and ethnic dishes inspired by Southern cuisine like BBQ pulled oats and black-eyed peas.
Brick City Vegan also creates housemade teas, including mint and hibiscus varieties on its menu. At the end of a visit, Adenah highly recommends trying vegan cookies that are made from scratch with the choice between chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or chocolate and macadamia nut.