When Dan Lucci, owner of Café Con Leche in Newton, decided to go vegan five years ago for personal reasons, he did not anticipate the impact it would have on his family and his business. But when he served his signature black bean burger to his customers, they went crazy for it and the Luhv affair blossomed into a full-grown family business.
Luhv Food began packaging its popular black bean burger as well as its energy soup and selling it at the Ricetown Farmers Market, Tanner Brothers Dairy Farm in Ivyland and Doylestown Food Market. They now ship 40 to 50 cases a month to stores in four states including Mom’s Organic and Essene Market and Café in Philadelphia.
“Over the past few years, our mission has been to make vegan food easily accessible,” says Facundo Lucci, Dan’s son, a classical guitarist, who put aside his career in sound engineering to help run the family business. “The stigma for vegan is changing. Great cooking can translate to any food and my dad is a genius at developing recipes.”
Luhv Food took an unexpected turn when the family sought out a larger space to develop their business. They choose a corner storefront on York Road in the center of Hatboro with no intention of opening to the public. However, the overwhelming interest convinced them to give it a try.
“The community called for it,” says Facundo, who runs the Luhv Food Bistro. “It has become a great place to test new recipes with consumers and find out what they value.”
Luhv Food sources non-GMO and organic ingredients from local farms to serve at the bistro and package for sale. The bistro also uses compostable wares so no waste is generated, something Facundo says customers appreciate.
“We get people from all walks of life coming in for all different reasons,” he says. “Many are interested in issues such as treatment of animals, the environment and basically not hurting life.”
For Facundo himself, turning vegan was quite a change and he even faced some criticism about what he “couldn’t” eat. He found it was easier for people to accept when he explained in a positive way that it was a choice not a restriction. And considering the wonderful meals that come out of Luhv Food kitchens, vegan food lovers are not missing anything.
“We let people discover it on their own,” says Facundo. “ How vegan are you?”
Meet Facundo Lucci and get a taste of Luhv Food’s famous black bean burgers at Doylestown Food Market on Fun First Friday, May 5th, 5 pm to 7 pm and at a burger tasting on Saturday May 13th, 10am to 1 pm. Save 20 percent on Luhv Food black bean burgers all month long.