A vegan food truck and a microbrewery are teaming up to launch a new restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. V-Grits Food Company has a mission to make the vegan lifestyle more attractive and accessible, and they hope the new restaurant and bar will help their cause in a collaboration with False Idol Independent Brewers. It’s targeted to open up in April with the brewery coming during the summer.
Jeff Hennis and Kristina Addington are founders of V-Grits, with Addington being a vegan chef herself. She was the first vegan contestant on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and won the competition. With the prize money and additional crowdfunding support, she was able to launch a food truck.
Since 2015, V-Grits has been to over 125 events offering southern style vegan food options. Some entrees include a mac and cheese meal that’s topped with BBQ jackfruit and coconut bacon, chicken and waffles, and a crabcake po’boy. While they aren’t on the road as often, they’ve launched prepared meals and sell their popular Cashew Cheese in grocery stores.
They’ll likely be hitting the road even less as they prepare to open their first restaurant. V-Grits is going to be operating in a building that formerly housed Monkey Wrench, a bar and pub that closed last April after 12 years of business. Prior to this announcement, they were looking to open a restaurant in Portland, but it didn’t pan out.
“We are animal activists, health advocates, tree-huggers, and we just want to make the world a little kinder,” Addington told VegNews. “With the restaurant and brewery, our ultimate goal is to make the vegan lifestyle easy, accessible, and as exciting as possible, for everyone.”
V-Grits’ connection with False Idol brewer Shawn Steele goes back to when their food truck launched. At the time, Steele played in a band for the event, and the trio have been involved with other projects in the past. Steele formerly worked at Akasha Brewing before trying to brew on his own, and he’ll be launching his own products with the new restaurant.
According to Insider Louisville, they’ll be expanding the kitchen at the old Monkey Wrench and removing the stage section for more seating. Most of the bar area will be left alone with five barrels for brewing being added. Most of V-Grits’ current menu will make the transition while adding “healthful and fresh organic meals such as salads and fruit-based dishes.”
The new V-Grits restaurant joins Morels Cafe as the latest vegan restaurants to open in Louisville. They’ve coined the phrase, “vegan food that doesn’t suck,” noting that their food doesn’t use traditional vegan ingredients like eggplant and tofu. The Farby, which is a braised roast beef sandwich that’s smothered with creamy signature cheese and red ranch on an onion bun, is one of the most famous options on their menu.
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