Viridescent Kitchen, a vegan kitchen, opened its doors last month in North Plano. But it’s more than just a kitchen: It’s also a market, event space and vegan business incubator.
Viridescent was opened by Gabrielle Reyes, a vegan chef and cooking show host, and Laura Thornthwaite, a yoga teacher and owner of the Simple Sprout, a nut butter company. Thornthwaite oversees the finances and operations.
“She’s powering this business to happen,” says Reyes, whose focus in the business is marketing and culinary.
Reyes had been operating her own vegan catering company for a few years when she met Thornthwaite through Instagram. Thornthwaite and her husband purchased the Viridescent space, in part to use as a kitchen for her nut butter business, but they wanted it to be more. Collaborating with Reyes, they decided to make it a shared vegan space, with many offerings where businesses can grow.
“We have chefs from all over DFW, and a lot of them don’t have restaurants or kitchens to operate out of,” Reyes says. “Or they’re working out of commercial kitchens where they have to share the space with meat, dairy and eggs, and there’s potential for cross-contamination.
“These chefs have this space to call their kitchen, their restaurant. They can find out what it’s like to actually own a restaurant.“
Viridescent Kitchen also helps businesses with their marketing efforts.
“We’re putting their brand out there and helping them with social media,” Reyes says. “These are small but necessary tools to build a business.”
Viridescent’s goal is to help nurture these vegan businesses so they can ultimately go out on their own.
“We want to build them up enough so that they have the popularity, the following, the marketing and the recipes locked down, so that when they’re ready to take the leap into their own brick-and-mortar, they’ll have all those things ready to go,” Reyes says.
Some of the vegan businesses they are currently partnering with include Sierra Valley Food, Plant Set Meals, Exotic Bites and Artemis and Apollo bakery.
Viridescent Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, featuring food from their partners, and Plant Based Grocery offers selections for their in-house vegan grocery store.
Beginning Aug. 12, Viridescent Kitchen will offer nightly events, such as painting classes, wine and cheese events, cooking lessons and cooking demos. They also have a weekly Sunday morning boot camp followed by a Cajun brunch.
Reyes and Thornthwaite have been overwhelmed with the response so far.
“Our grand opening on July 27 was wild; it was way beyond what we thought it would be,” Reyes says. “It was awesome because people who weren’t even vegan stopped by because they saw tacos and tamales and decided to try them. It was another way to introduce people to go greener with their food options.”
Even though she’s been a vegan for eight years, Reyes’ ultimate goal isn’t to convert people to veganism, it’s to introduce them to plant-based eating.
“I tell everyone this: Being vegan isn’t for everyone, but I do believe that everyone should eat more plants,” Reyes says.
Viridescent Kitchen, 5760 State Highway 121 #140, North Plano. 214-297-2334. Open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.