The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt has relaunched with an entirely vegan menu.
Started in 1995, the cafe began serving food prepared by D.C. Vegan Catering, which serves plant-based versions of Italian comfort food such as a “meaty ball” made with tempeh, almond ricotta and cashew parmesan.
The catering business is run by Michael Jantz Moon and Leah Curran Moon, Takoma Park residents who are also active in the local music scene. They ran a well-received pop-up restaurant called Pianta at Brookland’s Tastemakers gourmet food hall with a similar menu until recently.
The Moons will run the cafe as contractors under an arrangement similar to the one the cafe had with previous chef Karim Kmaiha and his wife, Maria Almeida, who are starting their own restaurant with $50,000 he won on a scratch-off lottery ticket.
The New Deal Cafe has an unusual management that reflects Greenbelt’s unique history as a public cooperative community started under FDR’s administration. The restaurant is run as a public co-op owned by its customers, with regular live music run by a separate nonprofit.