Hark! is born from a partnership and friendship between two people, Katherine and Lisa (that’s us). Katherine grew up with a strong background rooted in cooking classic southern Louisiana dishes and southern Italian food paired with southern hospitality. Lisa grew up with a love of baking and food experimentation, having inherited a sweet tooth from both sides of the family.
We met at Oberlin College in 2009, where we both went vegan out of concern for the environmental impact of the animal agriculture industry and our love and compassion for the lives affected by this industry. Our name is an homage to the Harkness co-operative at Oberlin, named for Edward Harkness. Harkness envisioned a learning method where a small group of students and the teacher sit at a round table together to encourage open-minded discussion. This was our approach to making and sharing food at the co-op: having collective conversations, practicing empathy, and learning together. We’ve dreamt of creating a vegan food business together since college. Lisa spent some time in New York City nurturing a pop-up food stand into a vegan restaurant, and Katherine interned at Farm Sanctuary, but we knew we’d be reunited soon.
And then in 2017, Katherine was diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder. When people with celiac eat gluten (products including wheat, rye, and barley), it provokes an immune response. Even eating food processed in the same place as gluten can be very dangerous and damaging. There are very few restaurants or cafes where people with celiac disease can eat safely. We wanted to create a completely vegan and gluten-free kitchen where we could guarantee there would be no cross contamination, and all the ingredients would be certified gluten-free and free of all animal products.
Hark! is a place where people are welcomed, the environment and animals are loved with the intensity of a thousand suns, and everything is prepared with care. We want to bring the atmosphere of Harkness co-op--a place that represents home, warmth, family and community--together with the spirit of collaboration, compassion, and curiosity. We want to offer people the decadent food they want but can’t always have.