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Business of the Month: Caravan of Dreams, 405 East 6th Street

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Caravan of Dreams storefront, ca 2009

Caravan of Dreams, an organic and vegan restaurant located on East 6th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A, was founded by Spanish ex-pat Angel Moreno in October 1991. It was the first organic vegan restaurant in the neighborhood, even before the beloved Angelica. For 30 years, Caravan has been more than just a restaurant. It has been a pioneer of the healthy food world. Health gurus from across the country had their start there and it has served as an incubator to many healing practitioners who started in their backroom, giving lectures and workshops.

Owner Angel Moreno working on the patio

Angel Moreno moved to NYC in 1982 with the idea of developing something rooted in his twin passions: promoting health and happiness. He was a scholar of nutrition for many years, but not a chef. In 1991, Moreno opened his restaurant. Moreno decided not to lock himself into a specific regional cuisine, but to focus on a well-rounded menu of healthy and delicious food. It was not vegan when it first opened, but within its first year went fully meat and animal-product-free.

The early years of Caravan of Dreams

This one-of-a-kind place, serving its customers with passion and resilience, has become a home away from home for much of the community. Angel is also a passionate musician, and prior to COVID-19 promoted live music at the restaurant. Due to COVID-19, he has not been hosting live music in the space, but hopes to return to doing so one day.

Live music at Caravan of Dreams, pre -COVID

According to its website, Caravan of Dreams is for people that appreciate the quality of things and — like Angel — have a deep respect for the elements. This can be found in the restaurant’s commitment to the freshest organic food ingredients, structured water, energy-saving lighting, and more. The purity of Angel’s vision and dedication fostered an dedicated and evolving community of participants who embrace better living.

Live music 2020-21

The menu is inspired by the Mediterranean diet, but leans international and adjusted to organic vegetarianism. The consciousness and knowledge of how and why veganism and eating organic healthy food is important is the ethos of Caravan of Dreams. You can have vegan food and organic food that is not necessarily delicious or healthy, but not at Caravan of Dreams.

Patatas Bravas with Local Fingerlings

Although health food is his passion, Moreno acknowledges the challenge of designing a vegan menu that tastes good. As he noted in our conversation, “It’s hard to compete with eggs and butter.”

According to Zagat, though, it does the seemingly impossible: “A dream come true for “healthy food” fans, this East Village vet offers a kosher vegan “alternative” in “bohemian” quarters; fair prices, “mellow” vibes and occasional “live music” complete the flashback to “hippie days.”

The new outdoor patio

Closed for 6 weeks when COVID-19 hit, Caravan of Dream has resumed indoor dining at 50% capacity, with a magnificent terrace set up, which Moreno hopes to make a permanent part of the streetscape.

As one fan stated, “Eatery does not adequately describe this place of character, integrity, and brimming with the best of life’s potential…The immediate feeling of genuine welcome permeates through the outdoor space, rippling from within, where pre-COVID the busy kitchen kept pace with the almost nightly live music and variety of events, including health seminars and art exhibitions. This is the place to come when you want a moment for yourself. This is the place to come with a friend, with a group, to unwind, or to celebrate.”

Stop by Caravan of Dreams at 405 East 6th Street or place and order, to ensure it’s here for the next 30 years!

What special small business would you like to see featured next? Just click here to nominate our next one. Thank you! #shoplocalnyc

And here is a map of all our Businesses of the Month:

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