Alberto González is a trendsetter. Two years ago, he opened New York City’s very first fully USDA-certified organic restaurant, GustOrganics. Despite the depressed economy, it is booming—and has now given González the opportunity to bring a fully certified organic menu someplace else it’s never been: to food carts on the streets of Manhattan.
“Our cart is the first USDA-certified organic street cart ever,” González told Organic Connections. “We are very proud.”
González called the cart—operated by his new company Organic Carts NYC—a prototype simply because it was a test to see if something like this would fly with on-the-go New Yorkers. But the prototype, currently found at Fifty-Third Street and Park Avenue, has done so well that he is now planning the immediate launch of two more carts.
“We’ve been sold out every single day since we’ve been there,” González said. “We have been increasing the food quantity of the cart by 20 or 30 percent, and we’re still selling out.”
Like its parent restaurant, the organic cart has a very tasty menu. “We’re serving salads and soups—we have a soup of the day and a salad of the day,” González related. “We serve the same empanadas that we serve in the restaurant; we also serve what we call tapitos, basically a wrap containing filet mignon strips grilled with vegetables, on a bed of greens, and much more besides.”
Lunch at the cart is not expensive. You can eat a meal there for under $10, tax included.
Because of González’s stress on maintaining a sustainable operation, no bottled drinks are served from the cart. In fact, organic juices are freshly squeezed from fruit right on the spot and served in biocompostable cups. “You can stop and have a freshly squeezed organic orange juice right in the middle of Manhattan,” said González. “We also have our homemade lemonade, which is very popular, brewed iced tea and more.”
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