If you’ve been to the Bruce Trent Farmers Market or Market in the Alley in the past year, you are familiar with (aka devoured) Ruse and their vegan food in Las Vegas.
The popular pop-up is known for its homemade — and perfectly seasons — vegan meats that don’t break the bank. With menu items like a vegan lamb gyro, vegan Italian sausage, falafel burger, a tofu satay taco, and a vegan beef chimichurri taco, Ruse is creating a name for itself within the community.
And the woman behind it all?
Las Vegas native, Roo Abdel-Al. Behavior analyst by day and chef the rest of the time, Abdel-Al has worked with autistic children for the past 10 years.
When she’s not with children, she’s cooking and creating.
“My family is Arab so we always had really big family dinners,” she explains of her passion to cook. “From a really young age, I loved watching my grandma and my mom cook in the kitchen. They would give me little tasks to do and I kind of fell in love with cooking with them. It never really got lost on me as I got older … I love cooking even more.”
You can taste that love in her food.
A vegetarian for 15 years, Abdel-Al took her love and knowledge of spices and created plant-based cuisine she ate at home. Until she and her boyfriend, Matt Frantom, made it official in April 2018 and launched her pop-up, Ruse.
The idea had been stirring inside of her for some time … especially after she realized how expensive vegan and vegetarian dishes were on menus, even when the product wasn’t made in the actual restaurant.
“I just got so sick of eating out and paying so much for food that I could make myself,” she says. “I definitely want to show people that if you do it yourself, you do it right, and do it for the right reasons, you don’t have to charge an arm and a leg for it.”
Once she had a name figured out, Ruse took off running,
So we had to ask, if Abdel-Al is a vegetarian, why make Ruse a vegan pop-up?
“We wanted to educate people on what vegan food really tastes like,” says Abdel-Al of the decision to offer only vegan eats. “With vegan food, anyone can eat it whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or carnivore.”
Also, by staying strictly vegan and ditching dairy, she’s able to keep the menu price points down for herself and the consumers. After playing around with the numbers, Abdel-Al said it made sense to be completely vegan.
If you’ve tried any of Ruse menu items, you know the future for Ruse is bright (and we’ve got big news for Ruse coming out tomorrow!).
While currently popping up at farmers markets, breweries, and special events in Las Vegas, Abdel-Al envisions Ruse as a brick and mortar … eventually.
For now, she has a few new dishes in the works to add to the current menu — including a new pesto steak pita — but don’t expect a massive menu. She prefers to keep the choices limited and focus on consistency. And, if you can’t make it to one of her pop-ups, you can order gyro kits to make at home, or sit tight until they start to deliver (they’re currently exploring options).
To find out where Ruse is going to pop-up next, head over to their social media and follow @rusevegankitchen.
Kathryn Hartwig is a senior writer for Vegans, Baby. She decided to go vegan almost eight years ago while searching for the perfect diet to compliment her role as a professional dancer. After experimenting with multitudes of fads, she finally found a lifestyle that turned out to be so much more than just a diet. She settled in Vegas with her husband/photographer Daniel, and puppy, Layla, after traveling the world on cruise ships and living in New York City. The family recently welcomed the birth of their first child, a true vegan baby.