New York City is home to some of the best vegan restaurants in the world. With more and more people adopting plant-based diets for health, environmental and ethical reasons, the demand for high-quality vegan fare has exploded in recent years. New vegan restaurants seem to open every week in New York, each trying to stand out with creative and delicious menus. But when it comes to size, one vegan restaurant stands tall above the rest – byWORD. This massive vegan paradise in the East Village lives up to its name, offering diners a seemingly endless amount of plant-based options in a sprawling industrial space.
byWORD first opened its doors in 2015, founded by husband and wife team, Chef Ronen Seri and Pastry Chef Pamela Elizabeth. Chef Seri’s culinary career began in his hometown of Tel Aviv, where he worked in fine dining restaurants and hotels. He eventually made his way to New York City, working in the kitchens of acclaimed restaurants like The Musket Room, Il Buco Alimentari and Vinegar Hill House. Meanwhile, Pastry Chef Elizabeth attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and worked for years perfecting her pastry skills in restaurant kitchens across the country.
The husband and wife duo dreamed of opening a vegetable-focused restaurant in New York City that would allow them to fully express their culinary talents. After years of pop-up dinners and catering events, they secured the space at 316 E 6th Street and got to work building out their sprawling restaurant space. With an open kitchen and casual-chic interior design, byWORD radiates warm, inviting energy upon entry. But make no mistake, the real star of the show here is the food.
byWORD’s Massive Menu
byWORD’s menu is a monument to vegetable-based cuisine, with a whopping 40+ appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts. Chef Seri sources the freshest local and seasonal produce to craft inventive plates that range from comfort to cutting-edge. Options include:
- Appetizers like Charred Broccolini with cashew cream, preserved lemon and Aleppo pepper.
- Salads like the Sapphire – with watermelon radish, sapphire kale, shaved fennel, sunflower seed brittle and poppy seed dressing.
- Bowls like the Coconut Curry – with kabocha squash, forbidden rice, charred okra, ginger-lime cashew cream and micro cilantro.
- Entrees like Potato Gnocchi – housemade pillowy gnocchi with roasted trumpet mushrooms, celery root puree, watercress pesto and toasted pine nuts.
- Sides like Wood-Grilled Carrots with zhoug, dukkah and mint yogurt.
- Housemade artisanal bread with rotating nut-based butters.
- Decadent desserts like Salted Tahini Brownies and Banana Cream Pie with toasted coconut and rum raisins.
The menu strikes an ideal balance between approachable vegan dishes as well as more experimental plates for adventurous palates. Herbivores can feast to their heart’s content on byWORD’s vegetable bounty.
The Sprawling Space
To accommodate its exhaustive menu, byWORD occupies a massive 8,000 square foot space in a former metal works factory. The interior features towering 30-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls and metal beams. These industrial-chic details are softened by greenery, antique mirrors and brass light fixtures.
The expansive 200-seat dining room accommodates private events while still maintaining an intimate vibe. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with natural light. But the real magic happens in the bustling open kitchen. Customers can watch the chefs prepare vegetable artistry up-close from the full bar and communal counter seating.
|Dining Room||120 seats|
|Communal Counter||20 seats|
|Private Dining||45 seats|
With ample seating for over 200 guests, byWORD is primed to handle high-volume business and private events while still maintaining quality service and a relaxed vibe. The environment seems to swallow up the crowds so it never feels cramped or rushed. This adds to the laid-back date night or special occasion appeal.
Chef Seri pulls flavors and ingredients from his Israeli heritage as well as many other global cuisines. The menu takes you on a trip around the world with dishes like:
- Tunisian Carrot Salad with harissa, medjool dates and dukkah
- Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew with berbere spiced sweet potatoes and crunchy injera croutons
- General Tso’s Cauliflower in chili garlic sauce with broccoli and sesame seeds
- Mexican Street Corn Salad with grilled corn, pepita crema, queso fresco, cilantro and lime
- Japanese Yuba Noodle Stir Fry with rainbow vegetables and sesame-tamari broth
The global flavors provide diners an opportunity to experience vegan versions of popular ethnic dishes in an authentic yet approachable way. byWORD also offers a full cocktail menu so guests can sip creative, herb-infused drinks perfectly paired to each plate.
Commitment to Quality & Sustainability
At byWORD, creativity and flavor are not sacrificed in order to accommodate vegan, gluten-free and other dietary needs. In fact, the restaurant strives to constantly innovate and exceed expectations for what plant-based dining can be. The chefs treat vegetables as the stars of the plate and prepare them in playful, beautiful ways that celebrate both flavor and texture.
byWORD upholds strict standards when it comes to sourcing and sustainability. The restaurant prioritizes locally-sourced, organic, seasonal produce. They support regional farms and partner with vendors who use ethical growing practices to reduce environmental impact. Ingredients like grains, juices, milks and vegan proteins are also sourced mindfully to ensure quality and consistency.
Since opening in 2015, byWORD has established itself as one of the premier vegan restaurants in New York City and has been showered with praise by food critics:
- The New York Times included byWORD in its 2018 list of “10 New Vegan Restaurants Worth the Hype.” Food critic Pete Wells wrote, “byWORD makes vegetables the centerpiece of the plate in more ways than one.”
- Popular food blog The Infatuation called byWORD a “veg wonderland” and praised its “artful plates bursting with color and flavor.” They gave it a 9.2 rating.
- Eater NY included byWORD in its roundup of the “Hottest Plant-Based Restaurants in NYC Right Now”, writing “Chef Ronen Seri’s masterful cooking has made byWORD a top destination for herbivores.”
- Michelle T. of VegNews wrote, “Every dish is a showstopper. This is truly vegetable-forward cuisine at its very best.”
- Alex H. of HappyCow wrote, “Hands down the best vegan restaurant I’ve been to in the world. The flavors, the quality, the creativity – everything is exceptional.”
It’s clear that byWORD has earned its reputation as being in a league of its own when it comes to vegan dining in New York City.
With its sprawling 8,000 square foot space, 200+ seating capacity, exhaustive globally-inspired menu and rave reviews, byWORD stands out as the largest and arguably the best vegan restaurant in all of New York City. This massive restaurant from husband-wife team Chef Ronen Seri and Pastry Chef Pamela Elizabeth has redefined plant-based dining with its creative, vegetable-focused plates.
Herbivores can feast to their heart’s content on byWORD’s 40+ appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts. The menu excites tastebuds with bold global flavors – all while upholding a commitment to locally-sourced, organic produce and ethical principles. From intimate date nights to celebratory feasts, byWORD’s laid-back industrial chic vibe and outstanding food make it the ultimate vegan dining destination in New York.