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Jeff LaPadula: General Manager at P.S. Kitchen

Located in Manhattan, P.S. Kitchen combines food and philanthropy to empower New Yorkers. P.S. Kitchen serves plant-based dishes and employs people from marginalized communities to help them reach economic empowerment and have bustling careers. All profits are donated to P.S. Kitchen’s incredible charitable partners. Learn more here!

What is the story behind the “vegan social business” that is P.S. Kitchen?

Our co-founders were inspired by Muhammad Yunus who developed the concept of a social business that not only produces something, but also gives back. That was the idea behind P.S. Kitchen. We focus on having plant-based vegan food because it brings our mission full circle. Vegan food is better for the environment, for people, and for animals. We work with various organizations across New York City to employ people who come from marginalized backgrounds and are working to get on their feet. We opened in 2017 and by 2018 we were a fully sustainable business, meaning we are funded by our customers. Any profits we make are donated to our partners. It’s really unique and exciting that we’re able to do this sort of thing.

Can you tell me about who your partners are and the work they do?

There are four main organizations that we work with, all of them are human rights organizations that our founders supported prior to starting P.S. Kitchen. We have employed people from these organizations for many years. Restore provides job placement and job training in New York City for victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence. Defy works with folks who were previously incarcerated and are trying to start careers. Sharehope is an organization out of Haiti that provides healthcare and health education to women. Lastly, Justice Rising works on providing school and education in war-torn areas. So far, we’ve had 2 schools built in the Congo with money from P.S. Kitchen.

P.S. Kitchen has such a unique business model that could work in so many areas, do you have any plans to expand?

Before the pandemic, there was some discussion about opening new locations but that has been put on pause. Even though it may seem like the pandemic is over, we are still struggling to get everything back to where we need to be and are focused on keeping ourselves on track. We run at or around break-even each month and everything over that, we donate. The option to expand is certainly there in the future. We always do the best we can, as much as we can.

What is the best part of your job?

I love that I get to work with so many different kinds of people. In the early 2000s, I worked in finance before switching to the restaurant business and there wasn’t much culture or diversity. Now, I am surrounded by all sorts of races, religions, ethnicities, gender expressions, and languages. The restaurant business is one of a kind in that way, and I love it. I enjoy having the opportunity to run the business side and make sure that things are getting done properly. I’m vegan and a big animal rights advocate, so doing something that benefits animals is great.


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