A new vegan italian restaurant Baia will open in the bi-level space of Jardinière in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, CA. One of the first places in the world to serve the plant-based Impossible Burger when it made its debut in 2016, Jardinière shuttered in April after 21 years in business due to lackluster sales, according to owner and celebrity chef Traci Des Jardins—an early consulting chef for Impossible Foods. Baia—which means “bay” in Italian—is a partnership between renowned vegan chef Matthew Kenney and Tracy Vogt, who owns farmed animal sanctuary Charlie’s Acres in nearby Sonoma, CA. “The focus will be Italian comfort food, all plant-based,” Vogt told local media outlet SF Chronicle. “I knew I needed to find a strong chef with a proven track record who can create really amazing Italian food, which is why after visiting a couple of Matthew Kenney’s restaurants in Los Angeles and New York, I realized he would be a perfect fit to bring to San Francisco.” Kenney is involved in a large variety of plant-based ventures, including fine-dining restaurant Plant Food + Wine, pizzeria chain Double Zero, and an all-vegan food hall scheduled to open in June in Providence, RI, along with a number of international eateries. Vogt chose the location for Baia—a 180-seater space with an opulent ambiance—for its historical value and to expand vegan options in the San Francisco Bay Area, where fully vegan restaurants are sparse. “The [vegan restaurants] we have are always packed full every night,” Vogt said. “I definitely think there is a market for more plant-based restaurants in the Bay Area, as people are becoming more concerned with their health, the environmental effects, and animal welfare concerns associated with a traditional meat-heavy diet.” While an opening timeline and menu have yet to be announced, Vogt’s plan with Baia is to “show people that you can eat plant-based without resorting to a plate of soggy tofu and steamed veggies.”
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