A vegetarian affair
Amy McDonough is a self-taught chef who likes to stay busy and try new things. So, she said, running her first food cart isn’t out of her element.
“But it is scary, and a lot of pressure,” she added.
Robin’s Egg is the only vegetarian eatery in Yamhill County. Amy and her husband, Sean, opened their shop in June at the former site of Henry’s Diner at the corner of Highway 47 and Main Street in Carlton. The McDonoughs had the option to purchase the original name and menu of Henry’s from owner Joseph Zumpano and continue the successful business he opened in 2012. But Amy decided to remake the site her own and cook food she was most passionate about.
“We’re still working the kinks out,” Amy said. “I want people to feel comfortable when eating the food that they’re not missing out on the meat.”
The McDonoughs moved to Carlton from California in 2015 when Sean was transferred to the Beaverton-based Intel. Previously, the two moved frequently as Sean was shuffled around on active duty, and Amy would work catering jobs throughout that time. But now they plan to stay in one place a while.
It was just Amy and Sean working at Robin’s Egg until they welcomed a recent culinary school graduate as an intern in late August. Meanwhile, Amy is able to continue her full-time work for a genetics lab from home while she and Sean startup Robin’s Egg and expand into catering — as before, her catering includes meat dishes.
After the move to Carlton, Amy began marketing her vegetarian and vegan recipes through her blog, maisonfancy.com. A couple of her submitted recipes were featured on the website for ABC’s The Chew; “That gave me the confidence to move forward with the food cart.”
Amy has much praise for the downtown Carlton business district and abundance of locally sourced ingredients in helping the food cart start anew. Without a huge vegetarian market nearby, Robin’s Egg will rely on attracting omnivores with Amy’s unique substitutes for items like taco meat (sweet potato, black beans and quinoa) and tuna salad (chickpeas and almonds).
“We have a lot of return customers who say they are meat eaters all week long but come here for their healthy meals,” Amy said.
Robin’s Egg is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Check the food cart’s Facebook page for changes in schedule.