ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Red Fern has been in business in Rochester since 2013. In the words of owner and founder Andrea Parros:
“Everything that we eat as vegans is the exactly what you eat,” she said. “It’s the vegan version. You eat a quesadilla, burger, mac and cheese, chicken sandwich, chicken Caesar salad. We just make the vegan version.”
Parros turned to vegan originally because she developed an allergy to dairy.
“I never really set out to do this,” she said. “It kind of found me. I got that allergy for a reason.”
After that, the ethical, environmental, and health reasons followed. Her passion for veganism grew from that, into founding the restaurant.
“There was no place to eat,” Parros said. “Back in 2009 or 2010, a lot of places didn’t have (vegan) options… Through the Owl House, I met a lot of vegetarians and vegans, and I knew there was a big demand for it in Rochester, and I felt if I opened an all-vegan restaurant, we would be successful.”
According to Parros, there were only two vegan restaurants. Now, there are couple more full-time vegan places, with dozens that have vegan options in the Rochester area.
The Red Fern continues to succeed — especially with delivery orders flying out the door — they don’t forget their roots, and their supporters.
“That’s always been part of our business plan, is to give back to the community that supports us,” Parros said. “How can you not?”
And this year, they’re celebrating with “A Year of Vegan Giving.” Every month, they give one dollar of a certain menu item to a local charity that helps animals. January, it’s One Love Pet Adoptions — they raised $400.
“We’ll be featuring Rochester Hope for Pets,” Parros said. The menu item is lentil loaf, which is meat loaf but with lentils.
According to its website:
Rochester Hope for Pets’ mission is threefold: improving the quality of life for Rochester area companion animals by providing grants for veterinary care to pets whose owners are in times of need; assisting veterinary health teams with continuing education, research and new technology for the advancement of companion animal care; and providing support to animal-related nonprofit organizations whose missions support homeless animals in need.
Her purpose is through giving back, supporting other vegan initiatives, but her greatest job reward is simple:
“It’s just watching people come in here and say ‘I can eat anything on this menu,'” she said. “They don’t have to question, they feel safe here, anything on the menu they can eat and enjoy.”
Andrea answers Dan’s Big Three Questions:
“I just feel like I’m doing something I love, and I’m helping people and animals along the way, and that means so much to me,” she said.