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VSPOT restaurant serving specialty #vegan #empanadas & more over 9 years in Brooklyn. Now VSPOT Organic is coming to the East Village!
VSPOT restaurant serving specialty #vegan #empanadas & more over 9 years in Brooklyn. Now VSPOT Organic is coming to the East Village!
295 backers pledged $50,673 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$50,673

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I always loved my mom's cooking the best, so devoting family time to food has always been very important to me. VSPOT, a family run Latin vegan restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn has been serving flavorful cholesterol-free cuisine since 2006. We have found the most success working together, and would love to grow this family by partnering with like-minded people to bring our business to the next level!

photo courtesy of El Diario newspaper
photo courtesy of El Diario newspaper

We have served countless meals throughout the NYC area and not just in our restaurant at 156 5th ave near the new Barclay's arena. VSPOT has sold empanadas and quinoa dishes at over 100 street fairs, film festivals and outdoor concerts. For over 5 years we have even served bars and cafes like Pine Box Rock Shop in Bushwick and Teany Cafe in the Lower East Side. Giving has always been an integral part of the VSPOT mission and led us to sponsoring benefit galas, NYC parks groups and countless vegan-outreach events with organizations like Sea Sheperd Conservation Society. 

pineboxrockshop.com serves #VspotEmpanadas, and is a staple vegan owned bar in Bushwick
pineboxrockshop.com serves #VspotEmpanadas, and is a staple vegan owned bar in Bushwick

I had discussed with a vegan friend Ariel Campos, organic foods distributor and an organizer for the March against Monsanto, that I had some interest in expansion and if he was interested in working with us on a second location with focus on organic produce. Then a few months later, through a college friend, I was contacted by Charles the owner of 12 St. Marks Pl. He listed to me concessions he would make if I were to open a VSPOT Organic in his restaurant space in the East Village. Further focus on Organic, Non-GMO foods are essential for peak health and access to them is something everyone deserves. There was little more to discuss with all of this lining up. Time was of the essence so I asked a friend and loyal customer Nathan Smith if he was interested in being a partner. He immediately said yes and joined the team. Then a childhood friend Chris also came aboard. We gathered funds towards the key money and immediately started planning. We have been working hard putting the pieces together since signing on 3/27/15.

College buddies from L-R: Danny Carabano, Chris Giannotti, Steve Simicich & brother Alex Carabano
College buddies from L-R: Danny Carabano, Chris Giannotti, Steve Simicich & brother Alex Carabano

It has been almost 2months so far as we launch this campaign. I have been working with my father, brothers, business partner and many others to help make this restaurant opportunity a reality in a limited time frame. Renovations and decor are coming together and legal requirements are being worked out, including our beer and wine license. There's still plenty to do. 

My father caught in the act #thanksDad
My father caught in the act #thanksDad

The current space has a staggering capacity of 112 seats. We will find our stride over time by opening the first of these beautiful rooms to the public while thoroughly testing our systems. The back room will be designated for private dinners like the one planned with the Culinary Collective in June, as well as a selection of cooking classes.

check out the event space in the back #LetsMakeItHappen
check out the event space in the back #LetsMakeItHappen

What we need help with most is working capital. Projections for a space like 12 St. Marks estimate a minimum of $50K to make all initial purchases and marketing, while having money left to keep the business moving forward. In order to achieve this financial goal we have focused this campaign on offering valuable rewards to our supporters who share the vision to offer a variety of Latin Organic Vegan dishes in the heart of NYC.

Seitan Tostadas covered in #VspotSalsa
Seitan Tostadas covered in #VspotSalsa

We will be using $22K for our first run of purchases including all of our organic produce, natural products, cold pressed juices and our exciting menu of organic wines and beers, as well as sake, soju and champagne. We will be launching an advertising campaign with $8K of the funds with a mixture of print, online and short video ads. An additional $10K will go towards replacing equipment and improvements on current equipment like the walk-In frig. After the kickstarter fees of about $5K this leaves us with some money left over for rainy day issues like unexpected equipment failure and potential losses which are especially prevalent during summer months for restaurants.

Alex made a pie! chart!!
Alex made a pie! chart!!

If popularity of our amazing rewards and support of our customers, family and friends brings us to go beyond our goal, we will look to launch our small packaged retail line of vegan foods to stores throughout NYC. We are currently planning on delivering our packaged organic fresh empanadas with salsa and organic quinoa with curried kale to 7 locations around the East Village. With prior experience in this field, a major goal bypass could lead to us reopening our previous 40 accounts including Fresh Direct and Westerly Natural Foods. 

a sample label of our previously packaged retail food #Vspot2go
a sample label of our previously packaged retail food #Vspot2go

#jointheteam

I am so excited to be working with so many people with the same dream. Come join the team and make this a reality as we bring our 9 years of experience making delicious vegan food in Brooklyn to the beautiful and historic 12 St. Marks Pl., 10003. 

VSPOT Organic location - vintage photo of 12 stMarks pl. 10003
VSPOT Organic location - vintage photo of 12 stMarks pl. 10003

Risks and challenges

Bringing the VSPOT Latin Organic Vegan Experience to the East Village is such a big endeavor that many challenges come with the territory. We plan on being ready for whatever comes our way with the help of 3 basic tools. The first is to open in segments in order to test food and systems properly while on a limited budget. Second is the personal knowledge and experience of myself and my current VSPOT partners Steve and Alex. Lastly, I’ll also be working with an additional close, qualified team of like-minded individuals who have a ton to offer in terms of expertise and advice.

The space at 12 St. Marks Pl. is very large with a seating capacity of at least 112 people. Considering the high cost of opening a restaurant of this size, we have decided to only offer our #Vspot2go items first while running the campaign and awaiting our beer/wine license, then we will open the first 52 seats of the location and reserve the back room, which has its own entrance, as a private event space. This approach will also allow more time training staff and taste testing every dish and drink to ensure the highest quality.

Over the past few months I have been working closely with my business partner Steve putting together all of the administrative and legal aspects of the business which can seem intimidating, but we have the knowledge and experience to face their unique challenges. Steve is a lawyer and partner at VSPOT and together with media / graphic designer Alex we have combined over 20 years of experience in the food service industry. We have the knowledge to know what to expect, how to resolve issues and who to turn to whenever we are in a time of need.

The last way we will handle challenges is the list of skilled individuals with whom we will surround ourselves during this endeavor. Ariel is focusing on management & organics. Nathan is bringing his marketing expertise and vast networks into our world. Chris is lending his contracting knowledge and immense passion for the restaurant industry. In addition the maker of Stogo ice cream is menu consulting and even our current team at VSPOT BK is training people interested in working at our new location. The team is growing every day and is an essential part of why we will be a success and overcome any obstacles that may come our way. Thank you for your support and come join our team!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    #shoutout
    Help us celebrate by getting your name shouted out on our website and in an e-newsletter thanking all of our contributors to our new location.

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    Pledge $9 or more About $9

    #veganRecipes
    Celebrate our 9years in Park Slope with a VSPOT digital recipe book featuring 9 of our favorite recipes including caribbean brown rice with peas and seitan flautas! Plus the previous reward :)

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    34 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $19 or more About $19

    #salsaFresca
    Enjoy our famous bottled medium organic salsa to take home. Good on anything! Plus previous rewards!!

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    32 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $29 or more About $29

    #Vspot2go
    Come pickup your choice of grab-n-go items like our organic selection of empanadas, quinoa with kale and lasagna. Plus all previous rewards!!

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    48 backers
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    #representVspot
    Get yourself a VSPOT tshirt and also get your name on the thank you wall in our new location! Plus all previous rewards!!

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    73 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Make a choice with this reward:

    #getHealthy
    Receive organic cold press juices or fresh juice once a day for 5 days!

    OR

    #getHungry
    Receive a full organic cake (serves 8) made for you by our in-house baking powerhouse Shoshana!

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    29 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    #vivaColombia
    Perfect for anyone who loves Colombian food. Get a 4 course organic Colombian meal for two including Sancocho, Salad, Empanadas and, of course, our signature vegan Bandeja Paisa.

    And of course you also get the #shoutOut and the #veganRecipes !!

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    12 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    #veganCookingClass
    This reward is so exciting as our private event space has been approved for cooking classes with stove tops at each table!! We already have eager teachers with recipes like peanut butter chocolate fudge and amazing vegan tamales for you to learn and make at home. This reward gets you admission for 2 so make it a date night!

    You will also get a #shoutOut in our newsletter and website plus get a copy of our digital recipe book!

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    6 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    #VspotVIP
    Attend a private thank you PARTY featuring many of VSPOT's best, classic and new eats with entertainment and more! Plus all previous rewards!! Yes, that includes the $100 reward too!!!

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    #vegancatering
    Have VSPOT handle 2appetizers, salad and 2entrees for your Organic catering needs for up to 25 people. Plus all previous rewards!!

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    4 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    #empanadaAddict
    Receive your choice of one of our organic empanadas from our new location EVERY DAY for a year! Plus the $300 level reward!

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    Pledge $4,000 or more About $4,000

    #dinner4aYear
    Enjoy an Organic dinner on us once a week for a year! Dinner for Two includes appetizer, entree and dessert, plus the $300 level reward!

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    Pledge $6,000 or more About $6,000

    #privateParty
    Take advantage of our private event space with separate entrance for your own private party needs. Invite up to 50 people to enjoy appetizers, entrees and dessert! Plus the $300 level reward!

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Funding period

- (21 days)