Taos has always been open to new ideas, do-it-yourself agriculture and a healthy lifestyle, so it makes sense that a a new restaurant based on bridging the gap between omnivores and vegans would find a place here as well. Over Memorial Day Weekend, the aptly-named Plant Base Cafe opened up in the old Eske’s Brewery at 106 Des Georges Lane.

Founder and Chef Frankie V. and Marketing and Wellness Coordinator Maureen Dodd have presented a menu packed full of food that doesn’t seem out of character for a traditional downtown Taos eatery, with menu items ranging from Mexican-style tostadas and burritos to American “burgers” and breakfast “omelets” — all vegan, of course.

Through the years, Frankie V., a former IT businessman and chemistry major, has experimented with food, becoming vegan eight years ago after the passing of his father, who he said died because of poor health habits.

“My whole goal with this whole thing is to get people who eat wings, or chile con carne, to try other things. If we can make something that tastes just as good, or better, than what you're eating, like a burger, then why wouldn't you eat this?” posed Frankie V. “That's kind of the vision: to convert people in a way that's fun, not like ‘Oh my gosh, eat these vegetables!’”

The expansive menu includes so many items Frankie V. said “you could come here for a month and not eat everything.” He also plans to keep expanding the menu as he sees fit, and harkened back to the idea of successfully straddling the vegan dining crowd and those simply interested in a good all-around dining experience. “Selling a veggie bowl is vegan, but it doesn't convert people who are on the fence,” he said. “You can only serve so many vegetables. I'm trying to make it more exciting.”

Along with being vegan, the restaurant is also “95 percent” gluten free (with a few gluten options available for those who cannot forgo wheat) and completely soy free (Frankie V. and Dodd explained soy is one of the most genetically modified foods in the world).

Along with the new food options, the restaurant hopes to be a hub for wellness expansion. Dodd, who has a background in yoga and spiritual wellness teachings, plans to create a space for those with earth and body-conscious ideologies to come together — not just to eat — but to learn.

Dodd and Frankie V. said with the Taos-centric location, they have plenty of room to try out different events. Over the holiday weekend, musicians Cordell Alsbury, Cicada Hymns and Ry Taylor serenaded diners as they ate on the outdoor patio.

“We want to have a big music and wellness component,” said Dodd. “We can use this space out there and have all different modalities of wellness,” including traditional and Chinese medicines, she said, noting they also want to offer meditation and yoga programs on the days the restaurant is closed — currently Tuesday and Wednesday. Dodd and Frankie V. also said they hope to hold wellness lectures in the space on topics such as, “What does it mean to be vegan? What is energy medicine? What is yoga? What is chiropractic? What is acupuncture?” said Dodd.

Ultimately, the partners said they want to help promote a healthy Taos community. “We want to create a community around well-being and wellness; how to take care of yourself better and to help people that are more on the fringe that need help,” said Dodd.

Though a Plant Base Cafe has existed in Santa Fe since early 2021, Frankie V. said he plans to form the Taos location into his home-base. “This is going to be our flagship, basically,” he said. If things continue to go well, he said he’d like to see another restaurant open in Austin, Texas.

For now, the business looks forward to Taos’ response to completely plant-based foods.

(1) comment

Bruce Katlin

I can't wait until opening day of what I hope, will be a great vegan restaurant!

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