Grubhub finds vegans plentiful in Rochester

Who knew Rochester was a haven for vegans?

Grubhub did, that’s who, and they’re sharing their data in a “State of the Plate” report.

The online food ordering and delivery service has analyzed usage trends from the first five months of 2019 and found that Rochester placed in the top eight cities for ordering vegan food. Rochester landed at No. 5, below Las Vegas and above Philadelphia. One and two – it won’t surprise anyone – were Los Angeles and Brooklyn.

Statistics were compiled using order volume, overall number of vegan items available on Grubhub, number of vegan restaurants in the city, and ratings. Grubhub is available in 2200 cities across the country. Compared to a similar period in 2018, vegan orders increased by 25 percent, according to Grubhub, and orders for the Impossible Burger alone – it’s a plant-based product that tastes amazingly similar to a burger made from beef.

Vegan or vegetarian items also showed up among trending foods Grubhub captured, such as spicy potato taco, mushroom stroganoff, cauliflower bites, and quinoa in several forms. Regional breakdowns show the Impossible Burger is one of the fasted-growing menu items in the the Midwest and West. A harvest bowl was the top item in the Northeast.

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Longtime film and animal fans now own the Cinema Theater

It’ll be déjà vu all over again for the grand re-opening of the Cinema Theater Friday, Feb. 2.

There will be old faces in new roles—longtime patrons Audrey Kramer and Alex Chernavsky are the new owners, who took over the business Jan. 5. (John Trickey still owns the building.)

And there’ll be a cat. Again. And again. Kramer has already introduced 20-pound Bo, a white and marmalade adult cat, to some audience members. She expects he’ll be roaming freely in the theater within a week, keeping up a long-time tradition at the Cinema of having a cat in residence. And, at some point, a kitten, Genny, will be meeting people, too.

The only movie playing on Friday, from the 3 p.m. matinee to the last show at 9 p.m., will be the 1993 comedy “Groundhog Day.” That’s the movie in which Bill Murray wakes up again and again on Feb. 2 to relive the entire day until he finally gets it right and gets the girl, Andie McDowell.

The repetitive nature of the love story is a fitting one for Kramer’s and Chenavsky’s new venture, as they made a weekly habit of coming to the Cinema for years, even as they lived in Wayne County. Both attended the movie theater for years before they met and married in a ceremony at the Cinema in 2009. He started coming in the 1980s—“Tootsie” was his first one at the Cinema—and she started around 1999.

“It felt like home, everyone knew your name, everyone was very friendly and they had a cat there,” Kramer said. In fact, it pretty much is home now as the couple lives in the Swillburg neighborhood, a 30-second walk from the theater.

The cat was important as both husband and wife are fans of animals and work in animal rescue, too. Chernavsky won’t say exactly how many cats they own, but noted that at one time they housed four blind cats.

Their love of animals led them to becoming vegans, which is the impetus behind one of the few changes they plan to institute: the snacks are going vegan.  Many of the treats sold at the Cinema were already free of animal products, Kramer said, but they’ll be swapping out Hershey bars for Ghiradelli or some other brand of chocolate that doesn’t include milk. And they’ll be selling vegan cookies.

Another change is that you’ll finally be able to use a credit card at the Cinema.

The important stuff, however, remains the same. Jim Lewis, who has managed the theater for years, will still manage it.

“Jim has been there about 30 years and he knows everything. We love Jim and he’s staying on. He’s teaching us,” Chernavsky said.

And prices—now $5 for the double feature and $3 for a single show—will remain at those reasonable levels as long as possible, Kramer said.

The grand reopening will feature two animal rescue groups offering cats for adoptions, and some non-concession treats. Chernavsky said it will provide a chance to converse with other customers who come loyally to the Cinema.

Kramer left her job as a janitor at Lollypop Farm to run the theater, where she will select the films and manage events they hope to hold there. Chernasky continues to work in IT at Lollypop while taking on shifts selling concessions at the Cinema.

“I feel like I have two full-time jobs right now,” Chernavsky said. “In the short-term, it’s fine, it’s fun and we’re enjoying it.”

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