Chef Craig Wilson of the now-closed Gigi Italian Bistro and Maya.J in Manayunk is heading in a different direction with his new project, Milo Restaurant. The upcoming East Falls eatery will focus on “humanitarian and healthy” fare with a vegetarian menu and lots of vegan options. Wilson, a self-described yogi seeking a healthier lifestyle, is opening the restaurant with yoga teacher/trained chef Ammie Ferguson. Look for Milo to start serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner at 3426 Conrad Street in mid-April.
Wilson, who sold his two restaurants on Manayunk’s Main Street after less than two years running them, says he wanted to try something different than the typical Main Street spot.
“Milo is going to be a compassionate, conscious market and restaurant with extremely healthy food,” Wilson says. “I’ve been a chef for 25 years but I recently had a baby and it scared me into this world of yoga because I was fat. I started to change my life. And then I felt like I couldn’t go back to the restaurant world I once knew — it was discouraging to work with meat and chicken and all that stuff.”
When it’s up and running, Milo will open early seven days a week with breakfast, coffee, smoothies, and juices and then move into lunch. Items like sandwiches, tacos, noodle dishes, and salads will be available for eating in or packaged to go. The restaurant is about 1,000 square feet with room for 30-plus seats, a counter for ordering, and a display case.
Sunday through Wednesday, Milo will close at 5 or 6 p.m. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Wilson plans to stay open later and offer a short dinner menu — “still vegan and vegetarian, but a little more upscale,” he says. Weekend brunch is also on the schedule.
Milo’s menu isn’t vegan — it includes eggs and cheese — but there are several vegan dishes, and most of the vegetarian dishes can be modified. The chef will be making dairy-free nut-based cheese in-house.
“I cooked in Thailand and all through Europe, so I’m taking that experience and moving around proteins, switching to tempeh, seitan, all kinds of tofu,” Wilson says. “I really respect V Street and Vedge, because it’s not easy cooking like this.”
Korean restaurant Jason’s Cozyday took over the Maya.J storefront in Manayunk.