Dining Out! Is the Mike McCann Team’s new column about all of the great places to eat in Philly, from the classic spots to the hidden gems. Read up on all of these fantastic restaurants that keep our city de-licious!
Miss Rachel’s Pantry
This week we had the privilege of speaking with Chef Rachel Klein, AKA Miss Rachel, of Miss Rachel’s Pantry about all of the exciting new things happening with her restaurant. Miss Rachel’s Pantry is the cutest, 100% vegan cafe in town and we just can’t get enough of their amazing food, quality service and one-of-a-kind atmosphere!
“The Pantry began as a personal chef and meal delivery business in 2007. I cooked in beautiful homes during the day and sold sandwiches at punk shows at night. Eventually we added a Lunch Club – making lunches a few days a week. In 2009, I hired staff for the day and catered my first wedding. We kept growing as a business and in 2012, we opened at 1732 West Passyunk. I wanted to cook home-style food for people – to bridge the gap between Philly’s higher end fine dining and very casual vegan dining scenes. We are extremely excited to be moving to a new location very soon. The Pantry name came from my grandmom and late grandfather’s 1950s luncheonette on Sansom Street, The Pantry.”
“Our space at 1732 West Passyunk was very 50s kitsch: sweet and homey, with knickknacks abound. Our new space, which should be open to the public by mid to late June, reflects a more refined, earlier era. A large glass garage door front gives it a more industrial look, but elements like lace curtains, jadeite accents and a homemade pastry case soften up the feel. Our 12-seater Farmhouse Table is coming along with us and the once picnic-inspired white chairs will be replaced with antiqued bronze seats. We’re trading in the beautiful handmade Mason jar light fixture for a crystal and antiqued bronze chandelier. I guess this time around, I had time to plan, whereas last time, I just threw everything I like into a space and hoped it would look okay.”
“Our food is very varied. We cook everything from casual picnic fare to our more precious 6-course dinners, the latter of which we host most Saturday evenings unless we’re catering a wedding. We make food that tastes great and happens to be vegan. Some dishes are very vegetable-focused; a little more kumbaya with a variety of tasty elements put together, like our potato gnocchi with grilled maitakes and truffle cream sauce, for example. Some dishes are made to almost mimic their traditional omnivorous analogs, like our artichoke & hearts of palm ‘crab’ cakes with lemon-horseradish aioli. We work really hard to make food that tastes great, and it is sometimes an uphill battle with preconceived notions of vegan cuisine. But, if I can tangent a little, our city has cultivated an amazing vegan food scene that is really changing what non-vegans and non-vegetarians think of our food. It’s amazing that just a few years ago, we started noticing that folks were beginning to go out for vegan food, just like one might go out for Chinese food or Mexican food. You don’t have to be Chinese or Mexican to enjoy those cuisines. We’re now seeing this so frequently that at least half of our customers for our Meals at Home program and our Farmhouse Table dinners are non-veg.”
“We offer a great guest experience by paying attention to the little things. Our server for dinner is essentially hosting a dinner party, since all of our guests sit together at one table. Our servers are well-versed on the menu and can anticipate your needs, making you feel like you’re being welcomed into someone’s home. We do our best to make the experience special for everyone. Lots of folks dine with us to celebrate special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries and even kicking cancer!”
“We have our Meals at Home service, providing home-style vegan meals to go every week to anyone who wants to order. We host our Saturday night Farmhouse Table dinners. We cater everything from office parties to weddings. And coming end of June 2015, we will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday as a little market with pastries and delicacies. We are a BYOB and always have simple, organic drinks like fresh brewed tea and coffee, but nothing too fancy. In season, we make watermelon juice. We also have sticky buns coming soon!”
Miss Rachel and her staff could not say enough good things about the city of Philadelphia and how much they appreciate the support they have received. They love the fact that Philly is a big city with the feel of a small town, allowing them to really become part of the South Philadelphia community and turn customers into friends. Miss Rachel raved about all of the other businesses she has formed relationships with, noting that it is awesome for her to work with so many inspiring female business owners in Philly. This is one company with a lot of gratitude and we can’t wait to see what they do next. Be sure to check out Miss Rachel’s new location soon!
Written by Patrick Kaisinger (Mike McCann Team Blogger Extraordinaire)