A plant-based restaurant grows in Midtown

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  • Interior of P.S. Kitchen. Photo: Michael Tulipan

  • Exterior of P.S. Kitchen.

  • Watermelon salad. Photo courtesy of P.S. Kitchen

  • Fennel tart. Photo courtesy of P.S. Kitchen

P.S. Kitchen opens in Times Square, hoping to make a difference by giving profits to charity

By Estelle Pyper

Walking through Times Square’s bustling streets is no easy feat. But if you sidestep the clogged crosswalks of Seventh Avenue and Broadway, you’ll find a peaceful enclave just to the west. P.S. Kitchen is a little over two weeks old, but already is proving worthy of New York’s competitive restaurant scene — with an edge of its own.

The man behind P.S. Kitchen is Craig Cochran, co-founder of Terri — a plant-based “fast food” café in Manhattan (there are three locations in the city). Cochran is no stranger to the New York food scene, but for his next venture, he wanted something different. More specifically, he wanted something that would make a difference.

About three years ago, Cochran was approached by a friend, and now co-founder of P.S. Kitchen (who has chosen not to disclose her name), about an idea to make donating more active and “fun” for the giver: a nice restaurant that would give profits to charity; a place where people can enjoy a cocktail and a quality meal while supporting something greater than themselves, instead of just writing a check.

In addition, they wanted to make the menu 100 percent plant-based, and hire people from underprivileged backgrounds. It is all these supplements and “postscripts,” if you will, that generated the title: P.S. Kitchen.

“There’s more to the story than us just being a restaurant,” explained Cochran. “P.S. We’re a social business that gives all profits to charity. P.S. We work with people from marginalized and underprivileged communities. P.S. we serve local, sustainable, and plant-based food.”

The space is modest and shares a block with Longacre Broadway Theatre and Hershey’s Chocolate World, at 246 West 48th Street. The outside resembles a speakeasy: white brick exterior and wooden planks above the front door with a subtle “P.S.” printed in gold on the lower right corner.

The inside, designed by Eric K. Daniels Architects, is long and narrow with white, simple tables and chairs. Wildflowers in jars serve as centerpieces, giving the place a very clean and organic vibe — fitting the menu. The lights are soft and give off a rose-y hue. A pink neon sign that playfully reads, “Ready or not,” hangs on a wall (Cochran’s own touch).

“We signed the lease about three years ago; it’s been a long ride,” said Cochran. “This building’s really old — it was built in 1910, and it’s just falling apart, so we rebuilt the whole thing from the inside out. Here we are three years later, and it’s beautiful. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”

Cochran helped develop the plant-based menu with the head chef, Gary Barawidan, and describes it as “global cuisine unified by classic French technique.” You’ll find everything from Filipino and German-influenced food to dishes from Buffalo, NY — Cochran’s hometown. There’s even a spaghettini (a thinner spaghetti), which Cochran seems to adore, saying, “I have dreams about this spaghettini.” Another favorite seems to be the strawberry shortcake, but it won’t be on the menu for long — they want to keep the menu seasonal and switch it up as needed.

As for giving back, the plan is to donate quarterly. It’s too early to predict earnings for this quarter, but Cochran hopes to give monthly in the future, to a different charity each time. So far, they’re working with Share Hope, The Bowery Mission and The Doe Fund, among others.

By working with these organizations, “You’re also giving a hand up instead of a hand out,” said Cochran, explaining the backbone of P.S.’s mission.

And business is booming. In its first two weeks, P.S. Kitchen has been booked solid. They’re currently renovating the upstairs to accommodate more patrons, but Cochran is already throwing around ideas of location expansion. “We have a great management team here,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t keep growing.”

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