It’s Friday night and your friends are deciding which restaurant to support that will accommodate the vegan, gluten-free and pescatarian lifestyles amongst the group. The consensus? Hungry Pants. Every time.
Owners and married couple Joey Conicella and Alex Marin were once known as the successful duo behind the Yum Yum Cupcake Truck, which earned them a respected reputation in Orlando, Florida. Craving flexibility, however, the two decided to pave the way for a restaurant more representative of today’s landscape.
According to the couple, traditional eateries are often pretty black and white, meaning the menu and target market are designed to check a certain box. But nowadays, people are much more fluid with how they feel and eat – and they wanted to create an inclusive environment that appealed to everyone.
And so Hungry Pants, a plant-curious restaurant that’s 100% plant-based 80% of the time was born. The owners, who opened the restaurant in Fall 2019, coined the term “plant-curious” to mean that menu items are built around vegetables, but offer the option for consumers to layer in protein. In other words, whether you’re craving a cheeseburger or a vegan poke bowl, the restaurant’s goal is all about clean, health-driven recipes.
That means antibiotic and hormone-free meat, grass-fed eggs straight from nearby Lake Meadow, bread sourced locally from Olde Hearth Bread Company and housemade vegan sauces. “The fewer miles your food has to travel to you, the less toxic it is,” said Joey.
The menu also has a sense of humor with entrees and appetizers broken down into “Nibble,” “Nosh,” “Hungry” and “Famished” sections, in addition to a “Lil’ Hungries” option for kids.
Another interesting distinction: The couple define Hungry Pants as “fast-fine service” meaning you’ll get the speed and value of a fast casual restaurant but with the quality of ingredients and atmosphere of a traditional restaurant.
All recipes for success. Unless, that is, you opened a few months before COVID-19.
Needless to say, operating during pandemic times made for a challenging year, with the couple closing the restaurant for six weeks before opening up for takeout only.
Once they got the okay to offer limited capacity in Summer 2020, they did, adding a takeout window and curbside option.
Because being involved and hands-on is important to both Joey and Alex, the lack of customer interaction was challenging. But, nonetheless, Hungry Pants survived and is officially operating (and thriving) at its fullest potential while earning newfound attention.
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