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Soul food — healing the soul in more ways than one


Vegan soul food is not something you hear about every day. Although soul food is traditionally known for the meat aspect, Our Vegan Corner proves it’s possible to make it without meat.

For Rev. Curtis Levy, the founder of Our Vegan Corner, it came naturally. Our Vegan Corner is more than nourishment for the body, it’s nourishment for the soul, too. As part of the Last House on the Block Ministries, it helps fund the ministry’s outreach for people experiencing homelessness, substance use disorders and mental health issues.

“The soul food part of it is just inborn,” Said Levy. “My parents taught me; you know collard greens, mac and cheese is just an ethnic thing for me. The only difference is we don’t use any animal products.”

the restaurant offers ribs, corn on the cob and collard greens.
A few of the offered items are ribs, corn on the cob and collard greens.

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

In 2021, vegan diets, also known as plant-based diets, are increasing in popularity. The benefits of the diet are getting the necessary proteins, fats and vitamins while also being high in fiber.

There are a lot more options for vegans than there used to be — soul food is one of them. Plant-based foods provide the proteins needed without using actual meat. When cooked the right way it can have the same flavor that comes with traditional soul food.

The Eatery

Our Vegan Corner is a restaurant in Downtown Syracuse, located on 140 Walton Street. For Syracuse natives, you can find it in Armory Square near the Museum of Science and Technology across the street from Starbucks.

Our Vegan Corner is a whole in the wall restaurant, with inside and outside dining.
At the restaurant you can enjoy inside or outside dining.

It is a small restaurant that gives off a comforting vibe.

Our Vegan Corner offers a range of foods from nachos and paninis to fried chicken and vegan ribs. They also have black bean soup, macaroni and cheese, cornbread and collard greens.

They also offer vegan-friendly Italian ice, gelato and soft ice cream. The frozen desserts section of the restaurant is called Razzle Dazzle, which expanded into Our Vegan Corner.

The Ministry

Rev. Curtis Levy founded Our Vegan Corner to help raise money for his ministry, Last House on the Block Ministries, 527- 529 Court St. It is a nonprofit that provides housing to those suffering from drug addiction, homelessness and other mental health issues.

The outside of the ministry that has a nice green yard.
Photo by/Google Maps

The ministry provides a place to sleep and help for a lot of people.

“We’ve been around since 2012 and we’ve helped over 600 people,” said Levy.

For a lot of people, they have nowhere else to go. Last House on the Block Ministries gives them a place to get their lives back on track.

There are steps put in place to make sure the clients are on the right path.

Giving Back

Emanuel Murray, director of housing and development for Last House on the Block Ministries, is also a former client.

“In order to participate in our program, you must be in a vocational training program, a aftercare treatment program or an educational program,” said Murray.

By following the program, the clients are more likely to succeed once they leave. Murray is just one example of that.

For those working there, the main goal is helping people. That is what matters the most.

“It’s not all about the money, it’s about really helping people and changing lives,” said Murray. “It takes a lot for some people to move into this direction, me having travelled that path, I’ve come to recognize it.”

Last House on the Block Ministries is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached at (315) 877-0453. People can also reach them on their Facebook page.

 “Ariel Dowdy is reporting from Syracuse, N.Y. due to the pandemic.”

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