Colors Restaurant, the former East Village venue that reopened last year on Lafayette Street, opened their doors to us last week to try their upscale gluten free, healthy comfort food. Some of their most popular items are buttermilk fried chicken and pork meatballs in heirloom tomato sauce. (Read on for more of their health conscious items!) Colors originally opened back in 2006 as a cooperative owned and operated by former employees of Windows on the World, which was a restaurant in the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Colors Restaurant Pays Sustainable Living Wages

The revamped Colors is operated by ROC-United (Restaurant Opportunities Center), which opposes the Tipped Minimum Wage. Instead, it pays a sustainable living wage to its workers. Chefs involved with the relaunch include Colt Taylor (One If by Land, Two If by Sea) and chef de cuisine Aaron Stein, formerly of Perla and Manzo at Eataly. Their new opening comes after nearly two years of organized protests in favor of raising the minimum wage for workers, and widespread attention to workers’ rights. “[W]e are reopening after being closed, renovated and rejuvenated,” the restaurant’s website notes. As the manager explained, the new and redefined Colors has much more to offer, not only to its diners, but also to its servers and staff, himself included. Colors took him in, trained him with culinary skills, as well as management skills.

Colors provides free restaurant-skills training to hundreds of workers, helping them move up the industry’s career ladder. People have the opportunity to intern there, cooking, serving meals, and tending the bar. Leaders in the restaurant industry help ROC’s staff instruct the interns and guide their training. The internship and experience allows many to find jobs with living wages in the industry.

Our Visit to Colors Restaurant

As we walked into Colors, I was immediately impressed by its ambience and the friendly servers. Our waitress sat us down and explained how Colors makes a conscious effort to use seasonal ingredients, sourced locally from farmers who practice sustainable agriculture and fair trade, and employees who get paid sustainable wages. We placed our orders for salads and two entrees and soon after our waitress came over to the table with their signature gluten free bread assortment. Gluten-free or not, this bread was delicious.

Colors Restaurant

With hints of sweetness in one, and another tasting just like a good old-fashioned southern biscuit. Both of our salads were equally satisfying, as well a huge portion sizes, not leaving much room for our entrees.

Colors Restaurant

In retrospect, we easily could’ve split one salad. For our meal, I went with the vegetarian option, the grilled green asparagus with sweet potato puree, cannellini beans, basil pistou, pickled onions, and Meredith had the special of day, which was a piece of John Dory, alongside white and green asparagus.

Colors Restaurant          Colors Restaurant

After many internal changes, I am happy to report that the new and revamped Colors exceeded any expectations. They are doing wonderful work for the restaurant industry and proving that a living wage can make all the difference. I am looking forward to returning and trying the rest of their seasonal, entirely gluten free menu. For more information, and to make reservations, please visit their website.

Colors Restaurant –  417 Lafayette Street, New York, NY

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About The Author

Profile photo of Julie
Healthy Eater

Southern girl at heart, minus the fried food. Fresh on the NY food scene, hungry for a healthy way to live in this food capital.