South Philly Barbacoa Getting a Storefront


South Philly Barbacoa is getting a storefront.

South Philly Barbacoa, the Mexican food cart sensation from Ben Miller and Cristina Martinez is getting a storefront. The cart has been a weekend destination at 8th and Watkins since early 2014. But Saturday was the cart’s last service at 8th and Watkins. But on the very good side, Miller and Martinez are going to be getting a storefront at 1703 S 11th Street, the former home of Vegan Commissary.

Eater reports that the barbacoa storefront could open as early as the first weekend in July. As for Vegan Commissary, they closed as of May 31st and are looking for a new, larger location.

South Philly Barbacoa [Foobooz]

Vegan Commissary Expands Hours

Vegan Commissary Kale Salad

Vegan Commissary Kale Salad

Due to popular demand, Vegan Commissary is expanding its hours. The restaurant used to only be open on weekends from 10am-4pm, but starting on May 1 it will be open from 12pm-8pm on Mondays and Fridays for lunch and dinner, and 10am-8pm on Saturdays and Sundays (for brunch and dinner).

In other exciting news, Vegan Commissary has released its spring 2015 lunch/ dinner menu. Appetizers include mac and peas bites, kale salad, and pea soup. Entrees include lentil meatloaf, spaghetti with bolognese sauce, commissary burger and a seitan cheesesteak.

And if you really can’t get enough of Vegan Commissary, they’re hosting a Cinco de Mayo dinner there, with dishes like sopa de cactus and spring greens enchiladas. It’s a little sacrilegious to eat a meat and cheese free meal on Cinco de Mayo, but if you must, it sounds pretty good. You can check out the whole menu here.

Vegan Commissary [official].

TONIGHT: Earth Day Dinner at Vegan Commissary

Even Vegan Food Can Be Delicious

Even Vegan Food Can Be Delicious

For those of you who don’t have a lot of tree-hugging friends posting about it on Instagram, today is Earth Day. Inexplicably, despite the gravitas of this enormous day, I was still expected to show up to work today. I know, it’s shocking how little people care about our planet. Nonetheless, some people know how to celebrate Earth Day correctly. Tonight, Vegan Commissary is taking a break from serving its traditional weekend brunch fare and opening up for a four-course $45 dinner.

The menu is heavy on the spring flavors, and right now is arguably the best time to eschew meat and dairy anyway because the produce is just starting to get exciting again. I mean, I’m not going to be a vegan, but I support you if you are.

The first course is a baby arugula salad with rhubarb and strawberries, followed by asparagus and artichokes served with sprouted barley and meyer lemon. The main course is risotto with spring greens, morels, and black pepper ricotta, and dessert will be a caramel coconut budino with pineapple and pistachios.

You can make reservations by calling (215) 964-3232.

Vegan Commissary [official]

Foobooz After Dark: Leigh Needham and Jeff Froehler at Vegan Commissary

Foobooz After Dark (Photography by Bethani Zeller)

Before I begin my story, I’d like to first confess something:

I never believed in vegan food. It always stood as this ridiculous symbol for a movement that tried too hard and failed to prove anything to the “real food” community. It added no substance, and subtracted even more, and in the end, there was always something left to be desired. It was a cuisine full of soul-sucking impostors, phonies and shams. So I gave up on it.

But the movement shifted. Places like HipCityVeg opened—that was my first reentrance to the cuisine. A few years ago, I took a bite of their fajita wrap and lost my mind. A few more trips back, and a visit to Vedge sealed the deal. These chefs weren’t aiming to convince anymore—they were showing off. Vegan options have grown in Philly since—all the way into South Philly, even. Which, admittedly, was expected given the gentrification eruption rolling there over the past decade. Now, on the corner of 11th and Morris, Steve Laurence’s Vegan Commissary exists, and the food coming out of that kitchen is as impressive as it gets in this city’s restaurant collection.

And so it begins: a look into our late, late night dinner, put together by a vegan chef, sharing knives with a steakhouse chef, both in a tiny little restaurant/commissary kitchen in South Philadelphia.

Read more »

To Do: Vegan Dinner with a Steakhouse Chef (Really!)


I don’t have enough thumbs to put up (you know, like thumbs up?) to convey how awesome I think the upcoming Foobooz After Dark event is. So you’ll have to accept my two measly thumbs, but envision many, many more.

The event, which our friends over at Foobooz are hosting (duh), is a one-night-only vegan dinner on Saturday, March 29th, with Barclay Prime chef Jeff Froehler, who will be manning the kitchen sans animal products at Passyunk Square’s new Vegan Commissary. So yes, a steakhouse chef cooking a meat-free dinner. Seriously, y’all: The Foobooz guys tell me this food will be phenomenal.

Read more »

Foobooz After Dark: Vegan Steakhouse


Philadelphia has its company of vegan darlings: Vedge, HipCityVeg, Grindcore House, Miss Rachel’s Pantry, Barclay Prime, Blackbird Pizzeria, Breezy’s Cafe. We love them because they never fail to impress. Being able to coax any semblance of umami out of nothing-from-an-animal is basically a magic trick, and these crews do it day-in and day-out. They’re the mind-blowers and the mind-changers, and they’ve diversified Philly’s dining scene so that it’s accessible to anyone: vegan, vegetarian, and not.

Wait, Barclay Prime?
Read more »

Opening Menu for East Passyunk’s Vegan Commissary


Vegan Commissary will open just steps from the Avenue. Photo by Jeff Fusco

Friday, December 27th marks the opening of Steve Laurence’s Vegan Commissary at 1703 South 11th Street, just a half-block off of Passyunk Avenue. You may have already seen Laurence’s spreads, scrambles and sandwich fillings at Sook Hee’s Produce in the Comcast Center, the Last Drop coffee house or at Good Karma Cafe.

Laurence just sent over what will be on his opening chalkboard menu tomorrow. The menu features starters like edamame hummus with Togarashi won tons, salads, sandwiches and bigger dishes like Za’atar grilled eggplant.

For more on Laurence and Vegan Commissary, check out this article on Be Well Philly.

Opening menu items » 

Vegan Commissary Coming to East Passyunk

east-passyunk-manhole-coverBe Well Philly’s Emily Leaman has an interview with Steve Laurence who is opening a vegan restaurant near East Passyunk. Vegan Commissary is as you might guess, a casual vegan restaurant that will offer dinner and weekend brunch. But that’s just part of Laurence’s ambitious plan that calls for including gratuity in the price and paying wait staff a living wage.

For more on Vegan Commissary, check out Be Well Philly’s interview.

More Details on Passyunk Square’s Soon-to-Open Vegan Commissary [Be Well Philly]