The first thing you need to know is that Indiana Kay has been a staunch vegan for 10-plus years. Also, John Stengel has been her boyfriend for several of those years, also she is a baker. What else? Oh, Kay’s nickname is Cindy. All right, let’s go.
“When we first started dating,” Stengel recalled, “she was always trying to get me to transition to veganism too. I was hesitant, but she baked these really good cookies and cakes and snacks. So when she said, 'when are you gonna do it?’ I’d say, ‘make me some more Cindy snacks and I’ll think about it.' Shortly thereafter I transitioned and I’ve been vegan for four years.”
Thus it was that on August 17, Kay and Stengel opened Huntington’s cindysnacks, which offers a smorgasbord of plant-based sweets, snacks, packaged foods and more.(Plant-based produce may be found at Happy Farm, a few doors down in the same shopping center).
“Our main goal is to create a space where a vegan can walk in and not have to worry about checking labels, and not have to go to six different stores to complete their grocery list,” said Stengel, a Deer Park native, as he showed us around his cozy space, its shelves and freezer case neatly stacked with a carefully curated collection of products.
There is also a kitchen space in back, from which he and Kay — who’s from Huntington and Northport — also plan to prepare fresh takeout items, vegan breakfasts and lunches, although first Stengel will have to figure out how to meet his front-of-house demands.
Thanks to vegan Facebook groups, word of cindysnacks has quickly spread. Though open just shy of a week, Stengel has already sold his entire stock from The Herbivorous Butcher (a Minneapolis-based purveyor of meatless meats and cheeseless cheeses). A strawberry ice cream made with oat milk has apparently also been very popular, as has a salami made largely of figs (“you cut it, add some cheese, put it on a cracker and it’s great.”)
“The specialty stuff has been selling out immediately,” said Stengel, flashing a grin full of amazement.
cindysnacks is at 210 Wall St., in Huntington, 631-662-0069. They are open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.