Many of us will gather with family, friends and loved ones Thursday, Nov. 28, to give thanks. Last Thursday and Friday, Nov. 21 and 22, St. Croix was given the opportunity to experience a vegan twist on the typical Thanksgiving dinner.
Vegetarian Creation’s eighth annual Pre Vegan Thanksgiving offered a spread of vegan cuisine that could leave anyone’s mouth watering.
The restaurant at Barren Spot Village Mall in Kingshill, was bustling and busy with customers coming and going from noon to close. The event was developed by owner and chef Isumyah Schrader and was intended, she said, to “offer the alternative for those who are vegan.”
“I’ve actually been doing this since ’91 out of my house for free,” said the smiling cook. It was only a few years ago that she decided to bring it to the restaurant, to give the entire community the chance to taste the delicious food for themselves.
Schrader is no stranger to cooking.
“I come from a long line of cooks and bakers,” she said. “This is not work I came thinking to do. I saw the work that went into it and as a teenager I said, ‘No, not me.’ It was really my children’s father who encouraged me, he tasted some food I made and said ‘You need to open a restaurant.’”
It’s been 37 years since she opened her first location in Christiansted. A local patron known as Dingo who recalled building out the first location, said Schrader’s food is “excellent.”
“The flavor stands out,” he said while holding his plate in one hand and grandson in the other, “it get your taste buds zinging!”
The menu offers more than 20 different options, including vegan mac and cheese, real potato stuffing, stuffed peppers, manicotti, lasagna, vegan turkey, vegan ribs, bean casserole and artichoke. There is a raw salad bar, local drinks, desserts and more.
“I can make you a turkey from scratch using beans,” Schrader said. “I am also fortunate my daughters have the talents. One of my daughter’s, she bakes, one makes the meats, one is good with the raw, they all help and contribute.”
Yahumba, a local and longtime supporter, raves about the restaurant.
“The variety and the way they can present the veggies in different forms is amazing,” he said. “I stay coming back because I know the chef, I know the people that serve. When it comes to food, energy is very important when choosing whom to buy your food from. They offer V.I. cuisine with a twist.”
When asked why he chose to partake in the day’s offerings he said, “I don’t really see it as a Thanksgiving as the Europeans do. There was a time we did this before, we celebrated, we did rituals honoring and giving thanks for the harvest.”
For Schrader, it’s all a labor of love.
“I put a lot of love into my food, I do this for my community and they know that I got them. It’s not always all about the money, some days people don’t have it all to give and they know I won’t turn them away, I work with my people. I love to cook and I love to see people eat and be happy,” she said.
More information about the restaurant is available by calling 340-773-4772.