Vegan pizza heads to JP

July 11, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH

SOUTH ST.—A sister store to T.J. Scallywaggle’s, a popular vegan pizzeria in Allston, is coming to South Street as soon as September, according to founder Steve Carian.

Felicia Scallywaggle’s will open at 142 South St., where Felix Pizzeria was driven out by a 2006 arson fire. Carian said the name of the new Scallywaggle’s is a tribute to the burned-out business, adding that he has known its former owner, Felix Merida, for several years. Merida moved his shop to Allston after the fire.

“It’s in part a continuation of the tradition and in part something new,” Carian said.

Veganism is a pure form of vegetarianism that avoids the use of all animal products. Scallywaggle’s uses soy-based substitutes for cheese and meat under such light-hearted alternative terms as “cheeze,” “pepperino” and “sauhsage.”

Boston Magazine last year named the Allston shop Boston’s best vegetarian restaurant, saying its food can “satisfy even the most carnivorous appetites.”

Like the Allston shop, the Jamaica Plain Scallywaggle’s will be owned and managed by an employee collective. Carian, a former JP resident, noted that the neighborhood has a tradition of collective and co-op business, including Red Sun Press.

“We take the form of a business, but really we are so outside the box there’s hardly any box left,” Carian said. “We’re a social change organization more than anything else.”

“We think, with our interactive style, we’ll do well in JP,” he said.

The collective approach will allow the shop to develop its own JP style, Carian said. “The flavor of T.J. Scallywaggles is sort of anarcho-punk,” he said, attributing that to the collective trio who run the Allston shop, which opened two years ago.

Carian described the Allston collective as anarchists and himself as a socialist, but said Scallywaggle’s has a common theme: “We’re all social activists.”

The pizzeria has a “triple commitment,” he said: “to popularize vegan eating”; “to build progressive community”; and “to encourage collective enterprises.”

As one example, Scallywaggle’s would happily share resources with other vegan businesses. That could include Fiore’s Italian Bakery, a fellow South Street business that has developed a niche with vegan desserts.

“We definitely emphasize cooperation rather than competition,” Carian said.

Politics aside, Felicia Scallywaggle’s will need collective effort in a more practical sense. “We’re not fully funded yet,” Carian acknowledged, saying that the pizzeria will rely on volunteer labor to build out the space.

While Felicia Scallywaggle’s will have freedom to develop its own atmosphere, it will have one big difference from the Allston shop: no live music. The JP location is too small for it, Carian said.

The JP shop will likely deliver, Carian said, adding that he would like it be bicycle delivery. In another unusual business model, Carian said he would be thrilled if bike delivery riders wanted to spin off into their own separate collective—say, a mini-business that delivers citywide for various vegan restaurants.

Carian said the Allston shop already delivers to JP customers when staffing allows.

Scallywaggle’s has been seeking a JP location for about two years. Carian said he looked at Centre Street spots such as the former Videosmith and Sweet Finnish storefronts, but found them too expensive.

“It is hard. We looked for a while,” he said. “We always knew we were a good fit in JP.”