Nicola's Veggies opened today

Marco & Luca co-owner Dragana Katalina-Sun (far left), who runs the popular noodle and dumpling shop in York Place with her Chinese-born husband, Sun Da, opened Nicola's Veggies today, along with a little help from Kimberly Ramberg, in the the little space on Second Street where the couple first began selling their dumplings. However, what she's offering couldn't be farther away from dumplings and spicy noodles. Although just as tasty and quick to order, Katalina-Sun's new offerings just might make you as healthy as an ox and about ten pounds lighter.

That's because her menu is based on nutritional consultant Donna Gates' book The Body Ecology Diet, now in its 9th edition, which advocates adding cultured foods to your diet, changing the quality of fats and oils you eat, and cutting down on carbohydrates and sugars. The basic idea is that our digestive systems are closely linked to our immune, endocrine, circulatory and central nervous systems, and that the foods we eat need to nourish this "inner ecosystem." The book has garnered raves in the organic food world, and many folks are turning to it to lose weight sensibly and eat better.

Katalina-Sun says she was reluctant at first to launch a restaurant on this concept, unsure about how the "eat right" message would go over with foodies more interested in thrilling their taste buds than their inner ecosystems. But considering how many folks are thinking harder these days about what they eat and where their food comes from, she may be on to something. Besides, Katalina-Sun says she wanted to create something she really believes in.

"I love dumplings, and other foods like that," she says, "but I really believe in this food. I think it will make people feel better."

Indeed, her menu has nothing on it to feel guilty about (to see the menu, click here). In fact, weight watching, health conscious Downtowners could theoretically go on the Nicola's Veggies Diet, trading in a few of those burger and heavy sauce lunches for something quick and healthy.


A disclosure that this new food biz is a tenant of a building that is partly owned by the editor of this tabloid might be in order...


My bad...indeed, it is true that editor Hawes Spencer is a part owner of the building where Nicola's Veggies is well as the offices of the Hook. However, as the Hook's food writer, I wrote this post independently with no editorial guidance from Mr. Spencer.

Dave McNair
The Hook

Looks good!