The Vegan Commissary has been one of my favorite spots since the very first time we ate there, just after their opening. My boss heard me talking about an all vegan restaurant opening in South Philly and how excited I was that such a place was going to be so close by work! The Christmas just before they opened he got me a gift certificate there – it was so early on he had to meet Steve Laurence, the owner, at his house to pick up a hand generated gift certificate – I have the distinction of being issued their very first gift cert!
It was a frequent stop for brunch after a Sunday long run or race. The restaurant space was small, upbeat, but with a laid back casual vibe where you didn’t feel out of place in running clothes even among people with nicer attire. Honestly a couple of my most memorable plates of food come out of that kitchen. When I heard they were closing their restaurant space last summer at the end of their lease I was pretty bummed out. They were looking for a commercial kitchen space that better suited the needs of their wholesale business – they supply a number of Philly restaurants with vegan provisions. They found a great kitchen space at 1429 Wolf Street, still in South Philly!
In September of 2015 the Pope came to Philadelphia. This pretty much made traveling around the city by car impossible the weekend he was here, so the Vegan Commissary thought with Philadelphians stuck in their respective neighborhoods, why not do a pop up “Vegan Popeocalypse Provisions” market to try and serve their neighbors’ market needs? They offered sauces, spreads and pickled items. The market concept was so well received they decided to make it a weekly thing! This was pretty exciting news for me. It’s easy enough to swing by there every couple of weeks when I find myself in South Philly on a Saturday. They started offering breakfast sandwiches, whole entrees and composed meals to go. Could it get any better? Why yes it could! They now do occasional Chef Table meals where you are part of a handful of people who can sit in the kitchen at the Chef’s Table and watch the action of your meal being prepared up close and personal! I haven’t had a chance to attend one yet, but look forward to attending one soon!
Also, in addition to the Saturday 9AM to 3PM and Sunday 10AM to 2PM the Vegan Commissary recently started to have weekday hours – Monday through Friday 11AM to 3PM. This I did take advantage of the other day. I picked up lunch on the fly but got to obusy to eat at work…so it turned into that night’s dinner! I picked up a Cauliflower Quiche and Sesame Noodles.
As the summer weather rolls in this is this a great option when you don’t feel like heating up the kitchen with the oven or standing in front of a hot stove. Also these dishes were refreshing for a warm afternoon or evening. The noodle salad was just what you would expect – crisp fresh vegetables mixed with Asian noodles with a bright, peanut sauce that had the right amount of heat. The cauliflower quiche, which I did warm slightly in the microwave, was on point textually and taste! Creamy but firm with cheesy flavor was complemented well with their scratch made ranch dressing. Also the summer salad onthe side was a great combo of vegetables that seemed to be quick pickled with a nice balance of acid and sweetness. I am happy to once again be able to grab some innovative and delicious dishes from one of my favorite spots! If you find yourself in South Philly, I encourage you to swing by and see what their market is offering that day! Make sure to follow their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay updated on what they have going.
Steve was nice enough to take some time and answers a few questions I had for him. I always like knowing what is on the minds of the chefs that create the food I love and maybe a little bit of what inspires them to create it. I hope you enjoy this mini interview because I hope to include more content like this in the future.