Austin Steps Up Food Cart Game with Vegan Seafood Concept

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

A pair of Austin vegans is tackling the food group many ethical eaters consider the most difficult to recreate without resorting to animal slaughter: Seafood.

While liquid smoke and seitan make a passable faux roast, even talented cooks have trouble conjuring the nuanced flavors of seafood in soy. That doesn't daunt Lisa Ward, a graphic designer who's trying to make her first foray into the food business with Yoho's, a pirate-themed cart serving vegan crab cakes, fish sticks, fish sandwiches and rum cake.

"The cart is meant to be pirate first, then fried food, then vegan," says Ward, who hopes to appeal to eaters without restricted diets.

Ward is now soliciting backers through Kickstarter, an online funding platform for entrepreneurs whose creativity exceeds their cash flow. Investors who pony up $100 receive five free meal coupons, a Yoho's T-shirt, two eye patches and a personalized sword.

Ward has thus far collected $865, and has until January 1 to raise the remaining $14,135.

Ward and her girlfriend, her partner in the pirate project, went vegan eight years ago and haven't sacrificed their principles in the name of market research. But Ward says they've trolled the aisles at grocery stores, reading ingredient lists to help them replicate the distinctive taste of seafood.

"The only way we can get the fishy flavor is lots of Old Bay and sea kelp," Ward says.

Their fried clams made from seitan, she says, are "textured perfectly." And Yoho's crab cakes have impressed a few carnivores, who claim it's impossible to tell the cakes are crab-free.

"Crab's so expensive, most crab cakes are mostly breading anyway," Ward explains.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.