Chickpea & Olive: The Life Of A Pop Up Vendor Is Always In-Tents! NOVEMBER 10, 2014
Want to get the scoop on how to run a successful vegan pop up food business? Danielle and Daniel, the dynamic duo behind Ace customer Chickpea and Olive–famous throughout the ‘Burg and beyond for their Phatty Sliders, Melts & BLTs–first got the idea of opening a vegan pop up after touring Smorgasburg in April 2012 with their trusty wonderdog, Kaya. When they realized that there were was not a sole veggie burger in sight (much less a vegan option) they began recipe testing and came up with their delicious chopped beet product within the month. The couple now have 7 staff members–mostly former sous chefs from dell’anima, where the two of them met–and can usually be found at The Smorg on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as various other catering events and food festivals. They cite the best part of vending as “hanging out in the sun and eating great food all day with our buds, listening to loud music, dancing like gypsies–and we sleep so hard afterwards. Plus we get to feed people really good vegan food and change perspectives. That’s cool, too!” Read on to get the beety deets on running a healthy pop up business!
What does an average day look like for you guys?
We get up around 6:30, pack our equipment up, fly to the kitchen and pack our coolers to the gills. Unpack and repack the car, strap the largest cooler to the roof with bungee cords and race down the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. When we get to the market we meet our staff, unpack the car, and move into our space with a handtruck that has broken and been welded back together three times! We assemble the tent, lay a tarp, and set up our tables and our two portable stoves topped off with forty-pound griddles to form the perimeter of our kitchen/diner counter. From their it’s all grilling beets and slicing heirloom tomatoes to get ready while Danielle dangles from the tent to hang our banner and our menus, and makes the front table look all pretty.
Wow! Sounds like a whirlwind. What are your “days off” like?
Days off usually involve planning the rest of the week, placing orders for produce and bread and dry goods from Ace Natural, booking gigs whenever possible, before escaping to a quick yoga class at Jivamukti. Then we throw together some kind of one-pot wonder and salad, chow down, and tune into WNYC. Sometimes we go to rock shows, too.
What are the tools that you could not function without?
Hmmm…we have a trusty rusty pocket knife we use for opening everything. Clamps! You gotta have clamps. And bungee cords, lots of bungee cords. Also tents are kinda like sails without a boat, so you need anchors, otherwise they just fly away. Our dream invention would be an Iron Giant!
Have you found a community among NYC pop up vendors?
Big time. Most of our friends are fellow vendors these days. We all bail each other out every day. If you forget napkins, I got your napkins. I run outta lettuce, somebody’s got some, and I can usually trust that it came from a green market. What are your personal favorite items off the menu?
Dan: Phatty Melt with Mushrooms, and the Polka with Cheese. Plus Blood Orange Hibiscus Tea.
Danielle: B.L.T. and the Calexico Burger. Coconut Black Tea.
Both: Side of slaw!
What has been your most surprising success with Chickpea and Olive?
We did a catering event for Citigroup once and Bloomberg was a guest. Hey Mike, if you are out there reading this, that Fingerling Baked Potato Pipe with Beet Bacon and Cashew Sour Cream? That was us.
Where do you see C&O in 10 years?
Dan: Competing with Shake shack.
Danielle: A line of packaged products and fast casual restaurants. We wanna have outposts all over the place! You hear me St. Louis? Here we come Chicago!
What is your proudest C&O-related moment?
Watching the sun set over lower Manhattan every weekend. Knowing we served hundreds of people food made with love that is good for them, the animals, and the planet. We like to say we are changing hearts and minds one meal at a time.
Thank you Danielle and Daniel! If you’re interested in having them cater your vegan Thanksgiving, check out their menu here. To find out where they’re popping up today, follow them on Twitter & Instagram, or like them on Facebook. If you’re still jonesing for more on this innovative pair, check out this amazing piece from NPR’s “All Things Considered” on vegan masculinity featuring Daniel!
Images: Luna Adler
WE are Finalist in the American Made Martha Stewart Competition. Your votes really do matter and we need a new set of wheels.
For These Vegans, Masculinity Means Protecting The Planet
Mixed martial arts fighter Cornell Ward (from left), chef Daniel Strong, triathlete Dominic Thompson, lifestyle blogger Joshua Katcher and competitive bodybuilder Giacomo Marchese at a vegan barbecue in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Featured in this episode of All Things Considered are:
Joshua Katcher, founder/creative dir. of Brave GentleMan & founder/editor of The Discerning Brute.
Giacomo Marchese, competitive bodybuilder & founder of Plant-Built
Dominick Thompson, Healthcare Executive, triathlete & founder of Iron Brukal
Daniel Strong, chef & co-owner Chickpea & Olive
Cornell Ward, MMA fighter co-host Walking Alone Podcast
We are deep into the swing of things at the markets. As always follow us on social media (Facebook, instagram, twitter). It's hard to keep up with things on the site since we book gigs at the drop of a hat and pop-up all over the place.
You can always find us at Smorgasburg on the weekends with 200 other amazing food vendors in NYC.
We are working on some pop-ups during the week. Catering is always an option for summer bbq's. Shoot us an email.
THE VENDY AWARDS are coming and you can still nominate us!
WHERE TO FIND US OTHER THAN SMORGASBURG:
Vegan Drinks July 31st
Thursday, July 31, 2014. 7pm-10pm.
Benefits Empty Cages Collective
Food By Chickpea And Olive
21+. At Fontana's Bar
105 Eldridge Street, Lower East Side, NYC [Map]
Robyn & Royksopp show at Pier 97
Harvest Fest at Blue Hill at Stone Barns
And cause we love Moby so much here is a shot of him at MYSTERYLAND waiting patiently for his phatty beet slider.
Amanda Neville, Contributor
I share insights on how to succeed in business partnership.
_ENTREPRENEURS 1/24/2014 @ 2:00PM 1,918 views
First Love, Then Business
Starting a new business is tough enough, but when your business partner is also your new romantic partner, it gets doubly complicated. In this week’s profile, I looked at how the founders of vegan food company, Chickpea & Olive, met while working for one restaurant, decided they were meant for each other and then stepped out on their own, together.
Who are the principals in your partnership and what is the name of your company?
My name is Danielle Ricciardi and my partner’s name is Daniel Strong. Our vegan company, Chickpea & Olive, serves local fare at food markets and events.
How did your partnership start?
We met in 2010 at Dell'Anima in Manhattan. Daniel was a sous chef and I was working as a bartender and server. We started dating in the winter 2011 and by the summer of that year Dan had quit his job at one of NYC’s hottest restaurants and we were on our way trying to figure out what exactly we were doing. And that is how Chickpea & Olive was born!
to read the full article click on the link below.
Gothamist named our Phatty Beetball Parm one of the 25 best things they ate and drank in 2013. so what are you waiting for???
"Phatty Beetball Parm Sandwich at Chickpea and Olive: Nestled in the hustle and bustle of the sprawling new indoor Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg you'll find, if you look for it, an unassuming little booth with hardly any hype serving a vegan parm hero that defies expectations. Chickpea and Olive's "Phatty Beetball Parm Sandwich" is yet another indisputable reminder that vegan food can hold its own and sometimes even transcend carnivorous, cheesy alternatives.
Daniel Strong, formerly of Dell'Anima, makes it with Barry's Tempeh, breadcrumbs, beets, some "very simple" marinara from Shushan Valley Farms tomatoes and a subtle dusting of Daiya mozzarella. It served on a toasted baguette from Sullivan Street Bakery, and made to order in small sizes (one beetball) and large (two beetballs) for $5 and $9, respectively. Chickpea and Olive also sells the beetballs "nude" for $3 each or two for $5, and if you want to go crazy you can get them served on top of a bowl of polenta topped off with fresh sauce and a splash of garlic oil. I've only had the sandwich, and it was delicious." John Del Signore of Gothamist
We are beyond thrilled to be indoors all winter long! Starting Dec. 7th. NEW MENU! ALSO TRUFFLES WILL BE BACK! GET READY.