Francesca Chaney, a Brooklyn native and a college student, saw that all the nearby vegetarian and vegan restaurants were way out of line with her budget. So, while attending classes, working on assignments, studying for tests, taking those tests—she created a restaurant for people like herself, vegetarians who couldn’t afford pricey meals.
Starting a restaurant when you’re a full-time student, working three low-paying jobs, plus trying to remain healthy yourself isn’t easy. She actually opened the restaurant during finals week of 2017, now saying, “That was an intense week.” Sounds like quite an understatement.
She had some chops on making stuff for people to consume; one of her many jobs was making organic drinks she called "Sol Sips” and selling them to people at festivals and lots of other places. When she amped up to opening the restaurant, she named that Sol Sips too.
The café has a plant-based menu of food and drinks, and no more than four ingredients in any dish or drink. Everything on the menu is locally sourced and organic, and all of it is available to people with little money. Prices are low every day and every Saturday, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, there's a sliding scale brunch – the customer decides how much to pay.
“I didn’t want it to be a thing,” says Chaney, “where my own personal friends were not able to come and eat here because they felt like it was expensive.”
“I’m looking to make [Sol Sips] something that’s global, and have it be interactive,” she says, “not just a café where you go in and get food or drinks. I want it to be a conversation constantly.”