Grab lunch after class or a late-night snack on the way home from the bar at Boise’s newest vegan restaurant, “Frondescence.”
Opening the second all-vegan restaurant in Boise, owner Justin Arroues has made it his mission to show people what good vegan food can taste like.
Frondescence opened on Feb. 21 at 103 N. 10th St. and specializes in Mexican-inspired fast food.
The menu features freshly made sandwiches, street tacos, build-your-own burritos and nachos. The newest addition to the menu is the “VcFlurry,” a vegan alternative to the McFlurry, for those craving something sweet.
Prices range from $3 for each street taco to $12 for sandwiches, making the food affordable, even for students on a budget.
The future looks bright for the plant-based eatery, with its Instagram following growing to 1,148 just two weeks after opening.
Arroues created a menu that caters not only to vegans but invites all foodies and persons curious to explore new vegan options to check out the restaurant.
“I started a vegan restaurant to market to meat eaters. I love the taste of meat, but I love animals more,” he said.
Arroues also accommodates those intolerant to gluten; all tacos and sandwiches can be made gluten-free.
The proteins to choose from are chorizo, beef, chicken, BBQ pork, taco meat and black beans.
All of the meat alternatives are soy-based proteins cooked and seasoned to make you forget that they are, in fact, plant-based.
As I walked into the restaurant, the employee at the counter happily greeted me while dancing to the old school tunes playing in the background.
I immediately felt welcome in the restaurant as it exuded a very casual and laid-back ambiance.
Wanting to taste the entire menu, I sought advice from the employee, who recommended that I try the tacos for a light lunch.
Some of the other options of the menu are of more substance so I decided to go with the “Southwest Chick’n Tacos.”
The tacos came with roasted poblano, hatch green chili, cheddar sauce, green leaf, roasted red pepper, aioli and tomato.
The tacos were flavorful, and the green chili provided a level of spiciness just enough to warm my mouth the slightest bit but at a level everyone could handle. For additional spice drizzle, add some of their homemade salsa on top.
The tacos made for a satisfying meal with crisp vegetables and a meat-like texture of the faux chicken that can have everyone fooled, and I left feeling full without feeling bloated.
So far the most popular items on the menu are the “Beef and Mushrooms Sandwich” and the “B.Y.O.B.” but the whole menu gets sold every day.
With fast service, Frondescence is a perfect pit stop during a quick lunch break or when you are starving on the way home from bar hopping as an alternative to every college student’s current favorite “Pie Hole.”
On Fridays and Saturdays, the restaurant is open until 2 a.m., and the rest of the week they close at midnight.
When enjoying a beer across the street at “10th Street Station,” the whole menu is available for purchase and delivery with no delivery costs.
Arroues loves the late-night crowd during Treefort or any kind of event happening downtown and wants to create meal options for hungry vegans at night time.
Frondescence makes a great choice for college students wanting to get their money’s worth. For $10, you get a 14-inch burrito that to most people would be enough to cover two meals.
“What I’ve been telling people is eat a few bites, and then you can save it. Take it home, either like put it in their fryer, or just dump the burrito out into a bowl and you got a burrito bowl,” Arroues said.
Although Boise only boasts two fully vegan restaurants, the vegan market faces a tough industry due to competition from other restaurants with vegan options and a relatively small population of vegans.
In addition, with the economy forcing people to penny-pinch, profitability becomes a significant challenge.
Arroues, who recently closed his vegan food truck, The Void, considered moving to Southern California or Portland. However, he still has faith in creating a sustainable business for himself in Boise and is giving it another shot with Frondescence.
“It is really hard, but it is still worth the fight. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I really want to bring something to Idaho,” he said.
Arroues envisions setting up a small outdoor seating area in front of the shop, as well as adding beer and wine to the menu. If Frodescence becomes a success, he dreams of bringing back The Void, as a 24-hour diner or opening another shop in Meridian.