In April, famed vegan chef Matthew Kenney will establish PlantPub in Boston’s Fenway district with fellow entrepreneurs Mary Dumont and Pat McAuley. PlantPub’s second site, which will be located just across the street from Fenway Park, the baseball stadium where the Boston Red Sox play.
PlantPub Fenway will be substantially larger than Dumont, McAuley, and investor/entrepreneur Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni’s flagship 20-seater Cambridge establishment, which launched last autumn. Boston BeerWorks, a brewery and pub that occupied the 8,000-square-foot building for over 30 years, will be replaced by PlantPub Fenway. The room seats more than 250 people and features huge windows and exposed vents for an industrial feel.
Kenney, who also runs the food hall Plant City in Providence, RI, is a plant-based pioneer with more than 60 restaurants globally. Last year, he joined the PlantPub endeavor under his Matthew Kenney Cuisine (MKC) banner. Kenney is now in Los Angeles, but he grew up in Searsport, Maine, and is a Red Sox fan. “It’s one of the most iconic sporting stadiums in the country, and I am really passionate about working in places I feel a connection to… I think it’s very unique to have a plant-based space this large … and I think it’s going to be an experience in and of itself,” Kenney stated.
Plant-Based Pub For Red Sox Fans
Dumont, an award-winning chef, is “beyond excited” about the new Fenway restaurant and the culinary possibilities that a larger kitchen will provide. PlantPub Fenway will serve more ballpark-themed options like hot dogs, sausage and pepper grinders, and Bavarian pretzels with a stout cheese sauce, in addition to many of the popular items on the existing PlantPub Cambridge menu, such as Buffalo cauliflower wings, loaded nachos, and a variety of pizzas and burgers.
“We are expanding our menu with more health-forward things like bowls and more entrée-style dishes that we don’t really have the space to make in Kendall Square [in Cambridge]… And we’re expanding our dessert menu to include Boston cream pie and something we’re going to call ‘pub tubs’— beautiful sundaes with all of the toppings. We are going to have lots of variations of soft serve ice cream, too, which is super nostalgic. It’s a New England thing,” Dumont said.
To go along with its delectable culinary menu, the crew put a lot of time, effort, and thought into creating an equally excellent beverage program that has something for everyone. “We’re definitely going to be celebrating all the local craft breweries; that will be our primary focus… Knowing where we are, of course we will have the game-day mainstream options like Bud Lights and things like that. But the main focus will be on New England craft beers, just like we do in Kendall [Square]—only it will be in draft form and in more of a big-bar form,” McAuley said.
The team hopes to spread the concept beyond these two PlantPub sites to additional cities around the country.
Plant-Based New England
The PlantPub idea is spreading across the country, including New England, as the plant-based movement gains traction. McAuley refers to the PlantPub team as “mission-oriented impact entrepreneurs” and claims that the trend toward plant-based food has exploded, with Boston trailing behind since it is “being a little more conservative than say Los Angeles or Manhattan,” is lagging behind. “Plant-based is the fastest-growing area in the food industry, so we’re confident in its success. We think it’s long overdue in Boston,” he said.
Kenney, who owns Double Zero, a gourmet pizza restaurant on Newbury Street in Boston, says he’s received “so much positive feedback and support” about the new restaurant from the Greater Boston community, including from PlantPub Fenway landlords Panos and Sara Demeter, who he says are “passionate” about plant-based food and recommended the Fenway location to him.
“I think people are realizing, more and more, how good plant-based food is. Look, a lot of people did great plant-based food in the past, but it’s gotten even better and is just really, really good now… Chefs are now being more innovative, there are more products available now. … I think that a lot of people wanted to do this [adopt a plant-based diet] for a long time, but they didn’t like the texture or the taste of the food they were eating. That’s just not the case anymore,” Kenney stated.
Many PlantPub menu items “mimic” not just the flavor but also the feel of their animal equivalents, according to Dumont, so customers “aren’t sacrificing anything taste-wise” by eating a more sustainable and healthier diet that is better for the world and, she claims, the future of food.
“And the fact that we’re right across the street from Fenway Park is significant. To me, baseball is about nostalgia; things that kids remember and, as adults, still love. Having a pub that has all of the things that you love—only made in a new and better way—will become part of your history, part of your family’s history … that’s where we want to get to… We want to evoke that in people—get them to remember the past, but now they’re eating in a way that is moving toward the future,” Dumont said.
Source: “MATTHEW KENNEY’S NEWEST VENTURE? A HUGE VEGAN PUB ACROSS THE STREET FROM BOSTON’S FENWAY PARK” by VegNews
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