“I really wanted to expand into the city,” chef and owner Aimee Follette, 35, told us during a recent interview. The stars aligned, she explained, and she shed a little independence, agreeing to partner with the proprietors of nearby Nish Nush.
“Sun In Bloom needs to be in this space,” they are said to have encouraged Follette, familiar with her popular sit-down establishment, which on weekends, particularly during brunch, is packed to the gills with devoted diners.
Said Follette, who in 2010 opened the original completely on her own, “I saw this as an opportunity to work with other restaurateurs who have built their own businesses with their own hands. To work with people who were as invested and emotionally connected — as opposed to partnering with someone just loaded with money — was really important to me.”
Follette expects the new eatery, which carries the same name and is located at 165 Church Street, to be more of a neighborhood haunt for those who live and work in the area. Akin to its sister spot, this one features a nearly identical menu, conveniently packaged for travel, save for a few dishes less suited to takeaway.
“Pancakes?” she mused when we inquired about their remarkable maple syrup- and shitake bacon-topped short stack. “I’ll have to experiment with that,” she laughed.
What the space lacks in seating it makes up for in local (as available) and organic (as available) alkalizing, anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, plant-based whole foods and cold-pressed juices. With a kitchen onsite, look forward to fresh salads, sandwiches and wraps, as well as a hot bar stocked with soups and macrobiotic staples like squash, collards, rice, beans and tofu. And, while the aforementioned may sound somewhat ho-hum, trust us when we say the feel-good fare is poised to impress.
“We also have a beautiful espresso bar,” added Follette. “So many people are dependent on their cup of coffee. Now they can have their coffee and nutritious food, too. This is a one-stop shop.” According to Follette, she and her team have actually developed a fair trade organic blend, which they’ll be packaging and selling that way as well. “It’s divine,” she smiled.
Equally delightful are the vegan (and gluten-free!) baked goods. Anticipate cookies, cupcakes and other crave-worthy treats (think coconut cream-based cheesecake and chia seed porridge) to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Given Follette is herself constantly surrounded by clean cuisine (something she claims literally saved her life) and no longer has a taste for grease or sugar (or meat or dairy or eggs), we were curious what she does define as an indulgence.
“My guilty pleasure is bourbon on the rocks,” she confessed, “or a decadent dessert at Pure Food and Wine.” Another noteworthy NYC establishment, Follette boasts a discerning — and peer supporting — palate, recognizing and appreciating quality ingredients when she sees (and savors) them.
Follette also recognizes and appreciates her patrons, many of whom have become regulars. Asked how she’d describe the average Sun In Bloom customer, Follette pondered a moment and answered, “someone who wants to enjoy delicious food while simultaneously feeling energized, happy and healthy.” We like the sound of that.