OCTOBER 13, 2020
Julia Simon and Erik Berns, the team behind Nourish Charlotte, will open their first brick-and-mortar concept, Plant Joy, at Camp North End this November. The plant-powered kitchen is the fourth and final food stall in the Gama Goat building — the latest business to open amid COVID-19.
Much like the Nourish Charlotte food delivery service, Plant Joy will celebrate vegetables through a menu focused on local, organic vegan dishes. While you’ll be able to order some fan favorites from Nourish, the menu will include different menu items with twists on classic vegan cuisine.
“We’d been looking for a home for a good long while — years, even — but were impressed with the diversity and heartfelt concern for community that the leasing team [at Camp North End] presented us with, day one,” Simon said. “For example, when mentioning running a coffee program, Tommy immediately asked that we talk to the roasters currently on site, Hex, since they were there from the start. It takes work to create an environment where small businesses can truly be in community and thrive, and advocacy like that is super important — add to the uniqueness of the campus, you know? Not compete with already established teams.”
“The phrase ‘plant joy’ has been a personal mantra of mine this year as both an action and a direction,” Simon said. “It’s a reminder to make joy happen now, to plan for it in the future and to return to the earth for our most favorite meals. At Plant Joy, we hope to honor plants and all they offer both in terms of culinary creations and karmic energy.”
While you may still find some Nourish fan favorites at Plant Joy, Simon and the team are excited to experiment with more temperatures and textures beyond what’s available when preparing delivered meals.
“We are so excited to finally get in front of people with ‘live’ food — we’ve been in meal prep for so long, the entire crew is nerding out over the idea of temperature control,” Simon said. “We’ll be offering some of the healthiest, most sustainable food in town. It is locally sourced, nutrient dense, organic, delicious vegan goodness. We truly believe that food can be curative and good in every way, and we want our guests to experience that.”
Dishes will highlight the local and regional bounty. Look for headliners such as Socca (chickpea crepe), Falafel Stack (presented nacho-style), vegan croissants and Rainbow toast featuring loaves from Verdant Bread. There’s also an option to purchase a Community Plate, where funds are donated toward a future meal for someone in need.
“The concept is really about exploring how far out you can get with vegetables, without using them to stand in for meat. So, you won’t see ‘chik’n’ on our menu or other protein gestures — you’ll see our experienced culinary team hone in on what vegetables, as a palette and inspiration, can do. It’s gonna get weird, psychedelic, even. But always delicious. And always nourishing, to our customers, our staff and our community,” Simon said.
Plant Joy’s kitchen will be led by chef Sara Whittlesey, who you may recognize from Crepe Cellar Kitchen & Pub. Whittlesey is a proponent of herbal homeopathy and restorative justice. Long-time vegan lifestyle advocate and Charlotte native Shirley Griffith will act as the front-of-house manager.
The menu and graphics were designed by Simon, and Berns led the physical design of the space with the support of Cluck Design. Upon opening, look for a whimsical vegetable-themed mural designed by Grace Stott, a Goodyear Arts artists and friend of Simon.
Since 2012, Nourish Charlotte has been committed to create a community of progressive plant-based eaters in the Charlotte area. The team employs low-waste food practices, ensuring food is sourced ethically. You’ll find this same ideology — which won Nourish Charlotte Mecklenburg County’s Recycling Excellence award — at Plant Joy.
Nourish Charlotte and Plant Joy also provide leftover food for those in need in partnership with Feed the Movement, and collaborates with local farms, such as Bell’s Best Berries, Boy and Girl Farm and the farm network operated under the Charlotte Herbal Accessibility Project.
1801 N. Graham St., Suite 101
The food stalls are located on Keswick Avenue, the street that cuts through the Gama Goat Building.
Opening in November.