Adam Erace Adam Erace battles adult on-set diabetes and cankles as the restaurant critic for the Philadelphia City Paper. He also writes about food and travel for publications like Details, Fodor's and Southern Living. He lives in South Philly with his wife, Charlotte, and two rescue mutts, Lupo and Marco.
Photo: Passyunk Post
Soon to be VeganCommissary.
Steve Laurence, an industry lifer and caterer who supplies vegan comestibles to coffee shops like Good Karma 2 and Last Drop, is targeting a pre-holidays opening for his VeganCommissary at 11th and Morris, the space formerly occupied by yo-cuz luncheonette, Little Snuff's.
"Everybody is in their 20s but me," laughs Laurence of his staff, all of whom are partners and will be paid a living wage ($10.75 and hour, per PA regulations, with benefits), a cornerstone of VeganCommissary's business model. The prices on the blackboard menu will be inclusive of tax and tip.
Executed by chef Leigh Needham, a vegetarian and veteran of Good Dog and (ironically) Barclay Prime, that menu will feature things like vegan sushi, edamame hummus with togarashi-spiced wonton chips, barley-and-hops salad, a vegan burger and more. Laurence's growing catering ops will run out of the same kitchen, so the sit-down menu will change frequently based on what's cooking for his clients.
Laurence became a vegetarian after his dad, who was battling cancer, went macriobiotic as part of his treatment. "He became so healthy, it changed who he was and how I looked at food." Going vegan was the next step, a move that pushed him into his current business.
Not that VeganCommissary will be exclusive to herbivores. "This is going to be a moderately price, neighborhood restaurant where vegans and anyone else can come and have a good meal."
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