Simply Pure Promotes Compassionate Eating, Serves Vegan Comfort Food

Bill Clinton looks over the menu at Simply Pure Vegan Cafe with owner Stacey Dougan while campaigning on behalf of his wife Hillary Clinton on Feb. 18, 2016
AP Photo/Michelle Rindels

By Guy Dawson

Stacy Doughen, owner of Simply Pure restaurant, is on a mission to provide people with healthy, clean sustainable food. Textured, vegetable protein-based nachos, tacos and lasagna are among the vegan dishes that she serves. Nothing on her menu contains animal products.

“We are committed to making healthy food that doesn’t compromise taste,” she said. “I haven’t been a vegan my whole life and I remember the texture and taste of meat. Most of our customers eat meat and we make our food to be palatable for them as well as vegans.”

 A native of Detroit, Doughen opened her first vegan restaurant 15 years ago. After operating a booth at a Build a Greener Block event on Fremont Street more than seven years ago, she was asked to cater for Downtown Project businesses. Several years later Tony Hsieh, then-CEO of Zappos, invited her to open a restaurant in the Container Park. Simply Pure officially opened on Dec. 3, 2013.

“I feel blessed,” she said. “We get a lot of business from being in the Container Park because of the constant foot traffic. I also have an amazing staff that works well together.”

Despite her favorable location, Doughen said that her restaurant almost closed a couple of years ago. An unexpected visit from former President Bill Clinton made a dramatic impact on her business and things improved ever since.

“Bill Clinton came to my restaurant to support an all-woman business during his wife’s presidential campaign and loved the food,” she said. “He mentioned Simply Pure at other events in Las Vegas and my business really began to increase. Whenever he came to town last year, he would stop by my restaurant to eat. I was a moderator at an event that he attended last October for small, minority-owned businesses. His visits completely saved my business. It’s been great.”

  Now that things have begun to turn around for Simply Pure, Doughen is considering putting money into marketing to bring her restaurant more exposure. She is also expanding the catering division of her business.

“There is a higher profit margin in catering,” she said. “We have also catered a lot of community events for free to help and to spread the word about vegan food.”

Even though veganism has become much more popular since she opened Simply Pure, Doughen said that it would be difficult to operate her restaurants with only vegan clients.

“A lot of people are looking for a healthy alternative to meat but they aren’t necessarily interested in becoming vegan or vegetarian,” she said. “We are about people and life and helping others transition to a healthier lifestyle. Our food gives them the opportunity to enjoy the foods they love without meat.”

Doughen credits her staff for providing outstanding customer service.

“I hire my staff based on personality,” she said. “I can teach you anything but not how to be nice. You must have the right team to run a successful business and we take pride in our positive and harmonious environment at Simply Pure.”

Simply Pure is located in Container Park on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. For more information, call (702) 810-5641 or visit simplypurelv.com

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