Sweet to Lick plans vegan market in Williston Park

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The vegan bakery Sweet to Lick opened in Williston Park in August 2013. Sweet to Lick The Market, a vegan grocery store, will open later this summer. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

Anyone grabbing a vegan treat at Sweet to Lick, Williston Park’s vegan bakery, will soon be able to go three doors down to make all their meals animal-friendly.

Michael Sabet, the bakery’s owner and chef, plans to open Sweet to Lick The Market at 82A Hillside Ave. this summer.

The shop will sell fresh local greens and packaged vegan foods in the former home of the short-lived cafe Irresistibly Good.

As Long Island’s first all-vegan grocery store, Sabet said, the shop will give vegan eaters one place to find items they might have get at several different standard grocery stores.

“We want to sort of take some of that of bite out of becoming vegan,” Sabet said.

Sabet, a Floral Park resident, opened Sweet to Lick in August 2013 after working as a restaurant cook and in the retail industry.

The bakery grew out of his efforts to create vegan dessert recipes for his wife, Kathee, who has been a vegan since the 1990s.

None of Sabet’s desserts at Sweet to Lick contain eggs, gelatin, honey or any other ingredient that comes from an animal, Sabet said.

Sweet to Lick carries a small selection of vegan products that will be expanded at The Market, Sabet said.

Offerings will include Smart Dogs vegan hot dogs, vegan butter and fresh produce from Lifted Roots, a Garden City-based urban farm that uses vegan growing methods.

Sabet also plans to partner with a dietitian to advise shoppers on how to plan vegan meals and stick to their vegan diets, he said.

Only about 1.6 percent of adults in the U.S. are vegan, but some 37 percent always or sometimes choose vegetarian meals when eating out, according to a 2015 survey by the Vegetarian Research Group.

While he doesn’t eat dairy products, Sabet, like about half his Sweet to Lick customers, is not vegan himself. The bakery has become an “oasis” for many people with severe food allergies, he said — he’s made many people their first birthday cake.

“If seeing a kid have his first cookie in his whole life, and that look on his face — if that doesn’t keep you motivated, what’s left?” Sabet said.

Sabet decided to open The Market near the bakery because he’s still there each day making desserts from scratch, he said.

The Market will allow the Sweet to Lick business to grow — Sabet said he plans to hire 10 new employees for the bakery and the new shop over the next year.

The Market will take on the bakery’s down-to-earth, family-oriented feel, Sabet said. The bakery has an imitation fireplace, a record player and pop art on the walls. Sabet also hosts bi-monthly art shows there featuring local artists.

“So many of the vegan spots are like, ‘just so cool,’ and I’m maybe just not cool enough to be there,” Sabet said. “But this is my place. It’s exactly as cool as I am, so my family’s welcome, your family’s welcome.”

 

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