If there’s ever been a good time to be vegan in Harrisburg, it’s now.
Craig Ward, owner of Ward of Health, opened on Wednesday in the Broad Street Market’s stone building. This comes just four months after House of Vegans opened nearby in Midtown.
“I’ve always been into being healthy,” Ward said. “I wanted to figure out how to reach other people.”
He realized the way to do that was by presenting people with food that didn’t necessarily look vegan.
Ward puts his spin on lo mein, burgers, mac and cheese and tacos, to name a few. His most popular dishes are his “Crunch Wraps” and “Save a Crab Cake” sandwiches.
At the Market, Ward sells grab and go items like wraps, grain bowls and smoothies. He also prepares meals for people to take home and cook.
All of the food is plant-based and vegan, Ward said.
“I have to be creative with what I’m giving to people,” he said.
As a kid growing up in Allentown, Ward learned to cook from his parents who were caterers. He later attended Milton Hershey School, where he was a student cook. After attending college in Baltimore, he moved to Harrisburg, where he was a cook and manager at places like Friendly’s, Texas Roadhouse, Rubicon and Café 1500. But, for Ward, that wasn’t enough.
“I decided to jump out the window and start my own thing,” he said.
When his mom was diagnosed with cancer, Ward saw the positive effect that eating well had on her health. This, along with seeing his daughter pick up some of his unhealthy eating habits, caused him to rethink what was on his plate.
About five years ago, Ward started cutting meat out of his diet and eventually made the switch to become vegan.
“I started to see a real difference in my health,” he said. “I wasn’t as tired, and my allergies went away. But the hardest thing for me was finding vegan food in our area.”
It’s been over a year since Ward of Health’s inception. Before opening at the Broad Street Market, Ward fulfilled customer’s orders out of his home kitchen. He offered meal prep and catering services, as well. He also participated in a few pop-ups at La Cultura and sold food at Little Amps Coffee Roasters.
During the pandemic, Ward of Health gained popularity as people sought a healthier lifestyle, Ward said. It was time to expand his business, and the Market was the perfect place to go.
“I’m trying to pass my healthy lifestyle to others,” he said.
The Broad Street Market is open Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Ward of Health, visit their website.
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