Philly’s dining scene just got a healthy boost with the arrival of four fresh spots catered to vegan fanatics.
Restaurants in Philadelphia just started welcoming back customers inside, at 25-percent capacity. While studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, the level of risk involved with patio and sidewalk dining is contingent on restaurants, and diners, following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.
Read on for details on the latest plant-packed newcomers in Philly.
Greens and Grains
Regional chain Greens and Grains opened its second Philly outpost and seventh location over the weekend, bringing the Rittenhouse neighborhood a new all-day destination for matcha superfood smoothies, cold-pressed juices, açaí bowls dressed with granola, and Mediterranean-leaning veggie sandwiches, with all dressings and sauces made from scratch on-site. Options include a gyro pita; “chk’n” Parm pesto panini or Buffalo “chk’n” kale Caesar wrap; and breakfast tacos packed with veggie chili.
The New Jersey-born brand, founded in 2014 by husband-wife duo Nicole Jacoby and Lambros Psounos, made its Philly debut in early 2019 in the Concourse at Comcast Center (which remains closed for now). The latest location, which replaces smoothie stand Sip & Glo, operates daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with takeout and delivery via Toast and Grubhub (1700 Sansom Street).
Blue Pearl Cafe
Just outside of Philly, downtown Ardmore got its first vegan eatery with the opening of Blue Pearl Cafe last month (44 Rittenhouse Place). The cafe, coffee shop, and juice bar is the first brick-and-mortar location for FJ Leto, founder of juice delivery service Juice Dr., who plans to unveil four more area cafes over the next five years. Along with his lineup of cold-pressed juices produced nearby, the menu is filled out by gluten-free grain bowls, baked goods, wellness juice shots, teas, coffee from local roaster Rival Bros., and immunity subscription boxes. Superfood smoothies are billed as an antioxidant-packed medley of adaptogens, medicinal mushrooms, and other blended boosters. Opening hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, with takeout, delivery, and limited outside seating.
Philly’s five-year-old wholesale bakery that sells its goods in local coffee shops has a new storefront to call its own. Crust slides into the space formerly occupied by Sugar Philly, which is conveniently located near Crust’s commercial kitchen in Manayunk (4409 Main Street). Opening offerings include breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal cream pies, strawberry PB&J bars, and zucchini and pumpkin breads, with coffee from locals Càphê Roasters and Maquina Roasters, notes Philly Mag. Movement Kombucha and Okie Dokie donuts are also in the mix. Last year, owners Shannon Roche and Meagan Benz debuted a West Philly location in collaboration with Pennsport’s vegan coffee shop Grindcore House.
A new plant-based food truck slinging seitan-based Philly and Korean sandwiches like a bulgogi cheesesteak just started rolling around town this month. South Korean-born chef de cuisine Matt Delatour was most recently leading the kitchen at Rouge in Rittenhouse Square. A taco section is filled out by watermelon tuna, crispy tofu, and Korean barbecue varieties. Kimchi from chef Melanie Meyer, co-owner of Party Bear Pizza and Tiny Chef in St. Louis, Missouri, makes several appearances across the to-go menu. Other options include Vietnamese iced coffee and gluten-free fries. Check its online schedule for operating hours and location. This week it’s parked at University City (3600 Market Street) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, Philly tragically lost a budding vegan cafe to a destructive fire over the weekend. Nourish, which brought juices, a fried “chicken” sandwich, and breakfast burritos to South Street in January, was engulfed in flames on Saturday, September 12.