In September, vegan caterer and pop-up S+M Vegan will open brick-and-mortar restaurant Lion Dance Cafe in Oakland, CA. Founders Marie Chia and Shane Stanbridge have been operating S+M Vegan pop-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area for six years, offering patrons a menu that combines their Chinese-Singaporean and California-Italian heritages. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the team to discontinue business, they immediately pivoted to weekly meal preorders and a contactless pickup model, which sold out in as fast as eight minutes. Because they have surpassed their ability to accommodate demand, Chia and Stanbridge are ready to grow into a permanent location.
The new restaurant will feature items such as Spicy Coconut Laksa, Turnip Cakes, and their ever-changing and wildly popular Shaobing Sandwich served on homemade flatbread. The S+M Vegan team is currently hosting a crowdfunding campaign and has so far raised more than $22,000 of their $66,959 goal to help offset the cost of purchasing equipment and furniture as well as permits, insurance, opening inventory, and rent.
“We’ve been working tirelessly for the past six years to showcase a completely different facet of vegan cuisine and have been successful at gaining the respect of high-end omnivore chefs, critics, and eaters alike,” Chia and Stanbridge told VegNews. “We hope we can count on our vegan community to support us so we can reach even more palates and minds.”
Lion Dance Cafe will begin by offering takeout using compostable and eco-friendly packaging. Once it is safe to do so, the café will welcome diners into the indoor dining space.
Photo Credit: Emma K. Morris