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Photo by Brian Kaiser.
Eat

From Neighborhood To Table

On Parsons Avenue, there’s a new guilt-free way to enjoy your next meal. Preserving the idea of connecting over food and repurposing the globe at a grassroots level, Comune savors the necessity of a plant-based fix while promoting the revitalization of community.

“If you get into our message, [vegan and vegetarianism] is there, but we’re very purposely not preachy. We make great food here; it just happens to not have meat in it,” says Comune co-owner Brook Maikut. “It’s the idea of making it inclusive versus exclusive. Everyone has different reasons. The reason why we don’t go into that is because I don’t like it when anyone beats their message over my head. I do appreciate when someone lives the lifestyle accordingly and sets an example. That’s what Comune wants to do.”

In the mellow digs of Comune, the walls are pure-white concrete with shrubbery hanging overhead. Servers whip up house-made cocktails at an ample wooden bar. The second floor boasts a stark black scenery with a lone table that can be reserved for close seating to the kitchen, and a multitude of recipe and health books are placed precisely above. Guests can settle at long tables in the main dining area and expect to become chummy with their neighbor, even if it’s a total stranger. Of course, the idea of neighborly gratitude isn’t new for Maikut, as the restaurant’s staff has rubbed shoulders with healthy infrastructures just around the way.

“Whether it’s Local Matters or the food bank down the street, we’re just trying to get our feet really grounded,” Maikut says. “If we do have eggs and cheese, we try to keep it local, sustainable, not having chickens that are being slaughtered afterwards. [I wanted] to get more involved with the earth essentially, and the way I was looking to do that creatively was through food. So it made sense to come up with an idea that mixed the two. The goal is to partner, get the word out, and invite the whole neighborhood in.”

Having a flood of guests hasn’t been uncommon during Comune’s soft opening earlier this fall, as vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike have raved over the restaurant’s global-influenced niche. Rather than arriving with an acquired taste, guests have relished in the spicy Japanese-inspired richness of the Dan Dan Noodle Bowl, a soft serving of the delectable Chocolate Avocado Cake and the mustard-tinted curry blend of the Coconut-Squash Soup. One staple dish has even been given a rave compliment from under the sea.

“Someone came in last week and called the tempura eggplant sandwich the best fish sandwich they’ve ever had,” says Maikut. “They’re a huge fish advocate and they’d eaten them all over the country, and he was like, ‘This is my favorite one.’ ”
Despite oceanic comparisons, Maikut and fellow co-owner Joe Galati capitalized on their past travels on land when they originally designed Comune. “When Joe and I were concepting the the whole thing. A lot of my travels to Scandinavia were popping up. Design-wise we are very Scandinavian: minimalist, but a lot of texture and warm elements to keep it cozy,” Maikut says.

“There’s a lot of different ways, like compost programs, that we’re doing to cut down on [our] carbon footprint, in general. Restaurants are notorious for being very wasteful,”

Comune strives to make an imprint on sustainability—an environmentally-progressive initiative that the staff embraces from inside out.

“There’s a lot of different ways, like compost programs, that we’re doing to cut down on [our] carbon footprint, in general. Restaurants are notorious for being very wasteful,” Maikut says. “If we run out of something tomorrow night, that’s just how it’s gonna be. I appreciate more when I go to a restaurant and they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re actually out of that,’ [rather] than it being an unlimited supply, which is weird.”

With green renewability pressing ahead, Comune still wants to be recognized for crafting meals with wellness in mind.

“Every one of these dishes can stand on its own and you will not be like, ‘Oh, it’s really missing something.’ No way, not a chance,” Maikut says. “ ‘Very intentional’ is what we’re trying to do here. The attention to detail and the amount of love we’ve given, it’s worthwhile when
people notice it.”

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