When we first heard about the opening of by CHLOE in Greenwich Village this fall, we knew we had to pay a visit A.S.A.P., a desire fueled in equal parts by the cool-girl founders, Chloe Coscarelli and Samantha Wasser, and their playful instagram account, which gives you a glimpse into the stylish but not-too-serious creative direction these two have given their restaurant, which is already immensely popular with locals, tourists, and the fashion crowd alike. And, okay, we'll admit we were equally fueled by a desire to check out the food, which tastes even better than it looks—and that's hard to top! (search by CHLOE's location tag on instagram to see what we mean). Samantha is a NYC-native who got her start in the hospitality industry in 2015 when she opened Horchata in the West Village, while Chloe grew up in L.A., moving to NYC to attend the National Gourmet Institute and later going on to become the first vegan chef to win a culinary competition on Food Network's "Cupcake Wars". Both women are incredibly talented and driven, and by CHLOE's first outpost is just the beginning for this venture—read on for what motivates them, their favorite flavors, and how they stay ahead of the curve in a competitive market like NYC!
CHLOE: My favorite thing in the world is feeding family, friends, and neighbors food that makes them feel great. The prospect of getting to feed people every single day with food I love has always been a dream of mine. Like a never-ending dinner party. Once I got the idea in my head there was no turning back.
Your menu is filled with mouth-watering goodies, from quinoa taco salad to pesto meatballs. How do you decide what dishes to feature?
CHLOE: It's easy for me- I just feature the foods and flavors I love. If I'm not obsessed with it and wanting to eat it everyday, it doesn't make the menu. My favorite foods usually involve some form of chocolate, pesto, or avocado.
by CHLOE’s mission statement is Eat Well. Eat with purpose. What does this philosophy mean to you?
SAM: It’s the simple idea that everyone can eat delicious, hearty and filling meals, while also being good to yourself and the environment we live in.
The culinary industry is constantly changing. How do you push yourself to stay relevant and keep your ideas fresh?
SAM: It’s important to stay in the loop with everything that’s going on. We are constantly reading - Keeping up with food blogs, the dining sections and Instagram – it’s essential to understanding the industry and new food trends as they develop.
SAM: It’s not about jumping in all at once! Start small and incorporate a plant-based meal here and there into your usual routine. You’ll start to feel better and have more energy. Dont over think it!CHLOE: Exactly what Sam says – we don’t want you to live in a world of extremes. The goal is to take the steps you can, just a few, every day, to reach your goals.
by CHLOE’s decor, website, and social platforms are vivid and eclectic. What inspires your creative direction?
SAM: So many things! I definitely drew a lot of influence from retro supermarket typography and pop art which is evident in our branding. In terms of color, I really wanted to stick with black and white for the logo and play up color in our menu, branded materials and playful icons - not be married to any one color in particular.
For our social media, I really wanted to curate a space that was inspired by all things food. I love food photography and wanted to create a unique ongoing story on instagram through color by focusing on the whole feed vs. individual posts.
I think the goal that drove us the most was to create a brand with mass appeal that is accessible, a bit kitschy, not too serious that just happens to also be vegan.
New restaurants in NYC are a dime a dozen, but you’ve captured a devoted following. How do you approach the competition and set yourself from other establishments in the dining scene?
SAM: by CHLOE. is labeled a QSR, but it’s so much more than that. by CHLOE. was designed with a sit-down restaurant sensibility, for instance at night we turn up the music and dim the lights to give diners a different experience at 10pm then they have at 10am.
So many QSRs are focused on the take out and and delivery business, but we wanted to create an environment where people would want to stay and have a drink with friends and not necessarily rush out the door with their food.
Once you visit the shop, you realize by CHLOE is a lot more than just a restaurant. What steps did you take to transform it into a lifestyle brand?
SAM: One of our main objectives with opening by CHLOE. was to change the perception of vegan food as a raw, flavorless, “hippie” cuisine. With our branding, we try to make veganism more approachable and less scary, with the hope that everyone will enjoy our food, not just vegans.
As our brand grows we try to keep in mind that we are educating people from all walks of life about veganism. Our blog is a source of vegan lifestyle tips and recipes, while our stores provide everything from prepared foods, to grab and go, juices, ice creams and freshly baked sweets. Your one stop vegan shop!
CHLOE: Our goal from the beginning was to make by CHLOE. about more than the food. Our menu is supposed to change your perception about vegan food by reminding you that dishes you love –Mac n Cheese, Burgers, Meatballs, Soup, can still be delicious and comforting, without the dairy and animal products! We try and take it one step further even by offering vegan pupcakes and dog bones!
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of managing such a celebrated business?
SAM: It’s been incredible watching by CHLOE. grow from a small idea into what it is today. Reading all of the amazing press we’ve gotten and seeing the overwhelming response on social media has been the most rewarding!
At times it is challenging to handle the demand for by CHLOE. while also focusing on the future of the brand, but exciting times are definitely ahead for us!
CHLOE: I am overwhelmed every single day at the amazing reception by CHLOE. has received. We have the best customers and most loyal friends. It’s been the greatest experience to watch a lifelong dream come to life and to see guests enjoying my food – there really is nothing better!
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received, and if you had to give one piece of advice what would it be?
SAM: Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t second guess yourself, trust your instincts.
CHLOE: Believe in yourself, always! Trust your gut.
It was recently announced that by CHLOE is opening a second location in 2016—congratulations! What can we expect from the brand in the future?
SAM: Right now we’re focusing on the success of Bleecker Street and the build out at our 22nd Street location, but don’t be surprised if you hear of more openings in the future!
Shop Chloe and Samantha's top selects here.