How a Lottery Win Opened the Door for a Vegetarian Café

Cajun Seitan Sandwich - Candle Café via

Cajun Seitan Sandwich – Candle Café via

There are tons of stories out there that talk about how people have won the lottery and lost all of it in a heartbeat. As a matter of fact, a collaboration of Pamela Engel and Michael B. Kelley on Business Insider tackles the misfortunes of different lotto winners who tragically blew their prizes. In a way, no one can consider this a ‘win’ since the end result took an inevitable turn for the worse. Of course, correctly guessing all the numbers is impressive, not to mention lucky. But at the end of the day, what’s more remarkable is how winners plant the seeds appropriately, instead of spending it frivolously. Take for instance the story of Bart Potenza and Joy Pierson.

Bart Potenza and Joy Pierson began their partnership in the latter part of the 1980s. Back then she was a dedicated vegetarian who lived by the holistic movement of it, he was this like-minded businessman looking for a partner to come up with a place that promotes their shared passion. What began as a simple juice bar and vitamin shop, their New York café grew into a full-service restaurant offering homemade soups, sandwiches, and salads. With the ever-growing number of customers lining up for fresh, wholesome vegetarian meals, the pair looked for ways on how to expand their business to accommodate more patrons. They found the solution after playing the New York State Take Five Lottery in 1993. And ironically enough, Bart and Joy bagged the $53,000 prize on a Friday the 13th draw.

To put things in perspective, winning any type of lottery is a monumental feat. Lottoland, a lottery gaming and magazine news website based in the United Kingdom, which lets visitors play prestigious lotteries such as the Euro Millions, even delves deep into the likelihood of winning different jackpot prizes around the world. Based on the article entitled, ‘The Probability of Winning the Lottery’ the odds of winning the United States’ PowerBall is the greatest at 1:292,201,338. Bart and Joy’s prize money may not be as big as this staggering amount, but it was more than enough for them to develop their business and come up with even better food.

Today, Candle Café is a one hundred per cent vegetarian dining destination in New York City. It serves nutritious and organic meals, which is highlighted by one of their many specialties: the Cajun seitan sandwich with steamed kale, caramelized onions, avocado, and ancho-chili aioli in between two slices of grilled focaccia. To top it all off, the Candle Café also has a selection of delectable desserts such as coconut-based ice cream and chocolate mousse pie. Woody Harrelson is even known to frequent this joint. It’s impressive how everything started from a simple concept and grew after cashing in on the lottery.

Candle Café is certainly on my to visit list when I get to visit New York! I’d love to hear from anyone who has already visited there!


I love to hear from you and connect with new bloggers and readers! Why not leave a comment below or connect with me on social media?



This entry was posted in vegan and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How a Lottery Win Opened the Door for a Vegetarian Café

  1. veggiesaremain says:

    I bought the Candle Café cook book , but have yet to try any of the recipes. I have a list of restos to visit when I am in New York, next time. Went with an Omni last time and spent way too much time searching for her fave spots to eat raw hamburger ! Will be travelling there alone or with fellow plant based traveller next time. by Chloe is another one that I am excited to try. I feel a trip to New York coming on in the fall 🙂

    • Poppy says:

      Raw Hamburger?!!! :/ Well that sounds gross!
      Yes By Chloe for sure, I am friends with one of her recipe developers and the food always looks amazing!

  2. Hi! Candle Cafe is one of my favourite places ever and I especially love their Candle 79. I’ve been a few times and go whenever I’m in NY (not often anymore, but whatever). I’ve been there with non-vegans who loved it. Everyone has always loved the food. It’s a VEGAN place though. Not vegetarian. The distinction is important. Actually, it’s everything to the cows and the chickens being exploited for the benefit of non-vegans.

  3. brugesvegan says:

    we visited in 2010, both Candle 79 and Candle Café. It was lovely! I would love to go back one day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s