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Top 100 Independents: Plant-Powered

June 29, 2018
Dirt Candy

Dirt Candy

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Evan Sung
Dirt Candy

New York City

Established: 2008

Owner: Amanda Cohen

Chef: Amanda Cohen

Pastry chef: Shannon Murphy

How they do it: From the beginning, chef/owner Amanda Cohen wanted Dirt Candy to do for vegetables what Peter Luger’s does for steak. “I want vegetables to stand on their own. They belong in the kitchen cabinet, not the medicine cabinet. I’ve carved this category out of nowhere, and it has been tough.” Cohen is constantly reinventing and using new techniques to cook vegetables right. It requires an entirely different mindset, she says.

Steal it: Learn to tell a story with the restaurant and the food. People want a dialogue with you, not a monologue.

Tallulah’s

Tallulah’s

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Travis Gillett
Tallulah’s

Seattle

Established: 2013

Owner: Linda Derschang

Chef: Russell Goehle

How they do it: Tallulah’s reframes globally inspired plant-driven cuisine in its own landscape. This allows the team to create unexpected seasonal menu combinations and to establish strong relationships with local farmers. Local farmers, like Evergreen, let the restaurant pick the creme of the crop right off their truck, keeping the menu vibrant, seasonal, and unique.

Steal it: Let the plants lead the way.

Plant

Plant

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Plant
Plant

Asheville, North Carolina

Established: 2011

Owner: Jason Sellers

Chef: Jason Sellers

Pastry chef: Leah Edwards

Leaf

Leaf

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Leaf
Leaf

Boulder, Colorado

Established: 2008

Owner: Lenny and Sara Martinelli; Three Leaf Concepts

Chef: Lenny Martinelli

How they do it: The fully vegetarian menu at Leaf is focused on satisfaction, says co-owner Sara Martinelli. “Our goal is to show that meatless cuisine can be delicious and can rise to the highest culinary standards by using the freshest ingredients. We use as much produce from our own farm as we can, which allows us to create dishes that highlight season harvests and local bounty.”

Steal it: Let each vegetable’s unique flavor shine; don’t try to mimic the flavors of meat-based dishes.

Vedge

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Michael Spain Smith
Vedge

Philadelphia

Established: 2011

Owners: Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby

Chef: Executive Chef Rich Landau

Pastry chef: Kate Jacoby

How they do it: Vedge takes pride in its menu and doesn’t apologize for its plant-forwardness. Instead, it celebrates vegetables and focuses on them. “Rather than relegate anything to side-dish-status, we elevate carrots, eggplant, and rutabaga with both classic approaches and new techniques, coaxing out gorgeous textures and addictive flavors from the humblest of veggies,” says co-owner and chef Kate Jacoby.

Steal it: Love the food and love the industry; don’t do it just for the sake of doing it.

Rustic Canyon

Rustic Canyon

6 of 11
Rick Poon
Rustic Canyon

Los Angeles

Established: 2006

Owners: Josh Loeb, Zoe Nathan, Colby Goff, Jeremy Fox

Chef: Jeremy Fox

How they do it: At Rustic Canyon, chef/partner Jeremy Fox weaves sustainability with culinary creativity. The kitchen doesn’t throw away pea pods or parsley stems. “Beet trimmings? Let’s cook them into a beet gazpacho,” Fox says.

Steal it: Look at the plant as a whole, from top to bottom.

abcV

abcV

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abcV
abcV

New York City

Established: 2017

Owners: Jean Georges Vongerichten, Paulette Cole, Phil Suarez

Chef: Neal Harden

Pastry chef: Rebecca Flamino

How they do it: abcV is the vegetable-focused restaurant extension of ABC Carpet & Home, a sustainably sourced furniture marketplace. Like its parent company, the restaurant focuses on sustainability and craftsmanship. The menu is ingredient-driven with thoughtful composition.

Steal it: Strive to create a shift in the restaurant paradigm.

J. Selby’s

J. Selby’s

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Casey David Muir-Taylor
J. Selby’s

Minneapolis

Established: 2017

Owner: Matt Clayton

Chef: Sara Gobely

How they do it: At J. Selby’s, plant-based isn’t about exclusivity, it’s about inclusion—including even the folks who choose to eat a plant-based diet, while exposing as many folks to plant-based cuisine as possible. The menu is fully plant-based, from burgers to falafel bowls.

Steal it: Bank on favorites as a gateway to something new and different.

Zaytinya

Zaytinya

9 of 11
Greg Powers
Zaytinya

Washington, D.C.

Established: 2002

Owners: José Andrés, Rob Wilder and ThinkFoodGroup partners

Chef: Michael Costa

How they do it: Zaytinya’s culturally influenced small plates feel exotic to guests and comforting to the chefs behind them. The creative culinary team works collaboratively with tradition and innovation to twist traditions. The small plates format encourages guests to try a lot of different things without having to bet on just one or two choices.

Steal it: Focus on distinctive seasonings and sauces that enhance the natural character of the vegetable. Every restaurant serves grilled asparagus—not every restaurant serves it with za'atar, smoked labneh and preserved lemon.

Sally’s Middle Name

Sally’s Middle Name

Washington, D.C.

Established: 2015

Owner: Sam and Aphra Adkins

Chefs: Sam Adkins, Miranda Rosenfelt

How they do it: Sally’s builds its menu seasonally for flavor-driven menus that pull inspiration from all cuisines. Dishes are presented as shareable plates and hit the table as they’re ready.

Steal it: Cook with flavors you want to eat.

Timber Pizza Co.

Slingin’ Pies

11 of 11
Timber Pizza Co.
Slingin’ Pies