ROCHESTER N.Y. (WROC) — A new vegan pizza restaurant has opened its doors near downtown Rochester on East Main Street.

Co-Owner Heather Simon said Squatchos was named after the tragic passing of a loved one who had that as a nickname.

“It is the namesake of my brother. He, unfortunately, passed away in 2017 in a house fire with my grandma and that is the day I became vegan. So that is the day I decided to have a vegan pizza shop,” said Simon.

Simon said the items used for her vegan meals are made in-house and are either soy or gluten-based, and some items are locally sourced.

“We have a lot of locally sourced items including a lot of our vegan meats from the local vegan butcher, grass-fed, located over on Monroe Avenue,” Simon said.

She said that, even though this is a vegan pizza shop, that’s not all she wants Squatchos to be known for.

“I’d like to say this is a pizza shop that just so happens to be vegan,” she said.

Although the idea of starting a new business venture coming out of the pandemic is scary, Simon said she had a spark of hope.

“I thought, ‘wow, life is really short,’ and you really just have to take a chance. Also, the Buffalo Bills just made it into the playoffs and we won that game, and I was just riding that wave. So it was like all of this is meant to be, everything is falling into place,” says Simon.

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.