Pensacola, FL

“Almost Vegan Soul Food Cafe” Has Tasty Meals for Everyone

Sierra Lyons
The cafe had its grand opening in June"Almost Vegan Soul Cafe"

PENSACOLA, Fla.--- “Almost Vegan Soul Food Cafe” located near Ever’man Grocery store on West Garden Street, is the most recent locally-owned restaurant to open in Pensacola that offers great meat alternatives without sacrificing any taste and flavor.

Venus Dortch and Thomas Coleman are the proud owners of the cafe, which opened in June. The engaged couple took a leap of faith in opening the cafe after Coleman got the idea to have Dortch prepare her savory soul food staples but substituting the meat products for vegan and vegetarian alternatives.

Dortch who isn’t vegan still loves to experiment with meat alternatives and research how to take some of her favorite dishes and make them more accessible to a community that has fewer options in the city when it comes to food.

“He [Coleman] said ‘I bet you can make vegan soul food… You can learn it. You just remove some of the ingredients but you can make anything taste good,’” Dortch said.

After her fiancé convinced her that her hearty home cooking could be converted to equally tasty vegan dishes, she began to read up on recipes and vegan chefs that were already knee-deep in the fight to create sensationally, yet health and morally conscious dishes.

Through trial and error, Dortch concluded that she could hold fast to her natural intuition in the kitchen, still incorporating great flavors and seasonings that made her meals unique. She began to focus less on emulating what other vegan chefs were doing and simply following her gut.

Since opening in June, the cafe has seen great success as they gain popularity and many customers have already deemed which dishes are their favorite.

Among fan favorites are the crunchy cauliflower bites with a sweet chili dipping sauce to add a kick. Additionally, Dortch says customers can’t get enough of their “Build Your Own Burger” nights.
BYOB are offered on Friday nights."Almost Vegan Soul Cafe"

“It has gotten so popular [BYOB] that we’ve told people to pre-order because we sell out. The most favorite of those is the ‘So Delicious Burger’ which is smoked gouda, portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, vegan bacon and a tangy sauce.”

Unlike other vegan spots, “Almost Vegan Soul Cafe” offers “hearty” options as well, which are meat and dairy products. Dortch says offering both meal options is a great way to get customers to try vegan products that they may otherwise be opposed to trying. When patrons see that the tastes are very similar, many are shocked to learn just how tasty vegan food can be.

“It’s really exciting to me to experiment and see how you can make things taste just like regular. You just get used to the regular and you think that’s what you have to do. I love fooling my mom, sisters and daughters.”

Since opening, the cafe also has open mic karaoke nights every second and fourth Monday, offering hookah, food and wine as customers lounge and let loose.

For more information on what meals the cafe offers and what community events they do each month, you can like their Facebook page.

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As a Pensacola native, it brings me joy to partner my love for writing with my love for the city to bring content about local businesses, events and lifestyle content! If you're looking to learn more about what's going on in this Gulf Coast city, you've come to the right place. Twitter: @sierra_298

Pensacola, FL

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