Mindful munching: New vegan restaurant adapts to growing lifestyle trends

Andrew Taylor-Shaut has spent his life practicing mindfulness, which he describes as “being present, aware, and attentive, without judgement, to our environment, experiences, thoughts, feelings, and sensations through a gentle nurturing lens.”

Now, Taylor-Shaut is taking mindfulness to his new SomethinGood wellness brand. “The overall brand focuses on health and wellness offerings in a holistic sense,” he explains. “Our motto is ‘Elevate Everyone.'”

Andrew Taylor-Shaut of SomethinGood to EatHe’s his brand with SomethinGood to Eat, a vegan restaurant at 12210 Larchmere Blvd. in Cleveland’s Larchmere neighborhood. “The first [component] is SomethinGood to Eat, offering whole foods—plant based fast food,” he says, adding that the concept is not about eating vegan, but more about being mindful about eating habits.

The 800-square-foot restaurant, which began a soft opening phase on November 11 and will have its official grand opening on Feb. 20, is already building a following.

“The traffic has been slow coming, but that is to be expected with the pandemic and it being the grey Cleveland winter,” Taylor-Shaut says. He's seen an average of five to 15 customers a day and even a few regulars. “I’m happy with the results so far. "There’s some momentum and many people have expressed interest, saying someone else in their family is eating plant based or vegan so they might like to try it out.”

Taylor-Shaut says he just had a customer from Beachwood comment that it was nice to have a vegan option on the east side of town, and he didn’t have to travel to Lakewood to get plant-based food.

Taylor-Shaut’s specialty is the GOOD Burger, a black bean, brown rice, and veggie patty burger. “Everything is made from scratch, even the mayo and cheese is made from plants in-house,” he boasts. Another popular option is the GOOD Nuggets, made with chickpeas.

He says the homemade cheese is made from potatoes, oil, water, and spices, while the mayo is Aquafaba (juice from chickpeas), oil, water, and spices. The food is all nut-free and can be made gluten free and soy-free as well.

Side items include hot fries (potatoes with Cajun seasoning), sweet fries (sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and cinnamon), messy mac (pasta with homemade vegan cheese), greens, and a BBQ slider made with Jackfruit.

SomethinGood to Eat also offers a variety of shakes and smoothies, made with house-made oat milk.

Taylor-Shaut says he’s been tweaking the menu since opening and wants to keep prices competitively affordable—offering a burger and shake for $15. “We want to make sure you’re getting at least what you paid for, if not more,” he says.

SomethinGood to Eat can also deliver—Taylor-Shaut says he just enrolled with Grubhub and Uber Eats. Customers can also order through the website.

Taylor-Shaut is already expanding to the 800-square-foot storefront next door to his current location to include a socially distanced dine-in space with about 20 to 30 seats, including bench seating for customers to wait for their takeout orders, and a vegan market. He says he will also be expanding the menu to include a larger selection and breakfast items.

“We will introduce the full menu,” he says of the grand opening and expansion. “We have only been using the soft menu thus far—which is one-third of what we offer.”

Taylor-Shaut predicts the expansion—of both the space, the market, and the menu—will help grow SomethinGood to Eat. “I think it can only grow,” he says. “[Mindfulness] was something everyone was leaning toward last year.”

Taylor-Shaut grew up practicing meditation and shamanism. He then went through the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction teacher’s program (which is now at Brown University) to help people reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain through mindfulness.

He and his mom, Cynthia Taylor, who is an integrative psychiatrist, have been teaching a Mindfulness Based Street Reduction course in the Cleveland area, and Taylor-Shaut says the philosophy continues to grow. Future plans for the SomethinGood brand include offshoots into music, reading, clothing, and drinking.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.