Celebrity chef Jose Garces—a Food Network regular and longtime “Iron Chef”—just opened his first plant-based restaurant in Philadelphia which he named after his vegan daughter, Olivia. Livy’s Plant Based Foods operates out of a ghost kitchen and serves an array of customizable burgers (made with either an Impossible Burger patty or a housemade black bean vegan chorizo patty). Topping options include a variety of vegan cheeses such as feta, smoked gouda, parmesan, cheddar, and a dairy-free version of cheese whiz; plant-based meats such as vegan chorizo and bacon; and other unique toppings such as vegan egg, chilli, and hash browns. The restaurant also offers a variety of sauces and condiments such as vegenaise, cilantro aioli, sriracha remoulade, carolina mustard barbecue, and tzatziki. Sides include tater tots, mac and cheese, and chorizo chili. 

“Meat isn’t necessary”

While Garces operates a number of restaurant concepts, Livy’s is special in that it stems from the meals the chef learned to prepare for his now 18-year-old vegan daughter, using his three decades of culinary knowledge and newfound appreciation for plant-based ingredients. “The exploration of cooking plant-based foods has led me to believe that we really don’t ‘need’ to have meat to have amazing flavors and culinary experiences,” Garces said. “There are challenges, for sure, but meat isn’t necessary to have something that is delicious and satisfying.”

All menu items at Livy’s are vegan with the strange exception of one: Martin’s Seeded Roll, which can be ordered as a bread option for burgers and contains milk powder. Luckily, the non-vegan bread is not the only option as Livy’s offers both vegan and gluten-free buns. 

The restaurant is open for pick-up and delivery through popular services such as UberEats, Postmates, and Grubhub.