OH VEGAN SOUL
Winner of PETA’s Vegan Soul Food Award
Full disclosure— I am not a vegan but, in my opinion, you don’t need to be a vegan to fully enjoy the cuisine at Oh Vegan Soul food. The small business run by chef and owner Mae Gaines has had some ups and downs but is now about to serve up delicious southern comfort food full time.
“I’ve had a lot of ‘coming to Jesus’ moments,” said Gaines. “I had bought a food truck but it just wasn’t working out. So I made the tough decision to sell the truck. The Chow Market is a place I really enjoy and I always wanted to be here and now it’s finally happening.”
After selling the truck, Gaines had to make some decisions about what to do with the business and is happy to be back in Boise. She said she’s excited about helping people understand that vegan food can be exciting and fun.
“I never think a terrible moment is doomsday,” said Gaines. “I think of it as a learning experience and being at Chow gives the people of Idaho a chance to experience my food. I’m not a quitter and I’ve been planning this whole time. Now I’m here and I’m so thankful for this opportunity.”
The grand opening isn’t all that Gaines has planned for the business. She’s a bit of a marketing wiz and has a steady following on social media platforms, which is pretty impressive as she’s not had a full-time open restaurant. Gaines plans to start opening late on some evenings, until 2 or 3 in the morning, around the end of October. She will also start a vegan happy hour that will feature a signature cocktail (in conjunction with the bar in Chow Public Market), a vegan brunch featuring a big breakfast platter and Chick’n and waffles a few days a week and a partnership with Regal Edwards Boise called Movie Night at Vegan Soul.
Gaines vegan southern comfort food is unbelievably delicious. I would wager that if one wasn’t told it was vegan they wouldn’t know. She’s been a full-fledged vegan for over four years and she’s taken all of her favorite recipes that she used to eat and turned them into plant-based meals.
“I learned how to cook by tasting and then figuring out the ingredients in a dish,” said Gaines. “For vegan recipes you have to get the texture and the flavors just right. I’m always trying out new ideas; right now I’m working on a vegan seafood boil that we’ll start serving at some point.”
The menu at Oh Vegan Soul is already packed with items. BBQ, fried Chick’n, jerk jackfruit and vegan “tuna” are staples for the entrees but there’s also a fried “fish” that people can catch as a special item once in a while. Gaines also serves up six different sandwiches; BBQ, Caribbean Jerk jackfruit, a po-boy, the signature hamburger, southern fried Chick’n and a “tuna” melt.
I found the Chick’n to be especially tasty; it was crispy and flavorful with just the right amount of bite.
The restaurant also has a bunch of rotating sides. Gaines puts them into two different categories, under simple or premium. Simple sides include: soul rice, collard greens, “tuna” salad, french fries and okra with tomatoes. Premium sides are: corn pudding, cabbage with “sausage,” cheesy broccoli, candy yams and mac and cheese. Because of supply issues, the corn pudding, cabbage with “sausage,” okra with tomatoes and candy yams will only be offered sometimes.
The mac and cheese is to die for. It rivals any “real” mac and cheese I’ve had and unlike some traditional recipes, Gaines vegan version doesn’t separate or become greasy.
Besides making a trip up to Chow, people will also be able to order online after the grand opening. Gaines is also going to start delivering but she doesn’t want to use big names like GrubHub or DoorDash, she will keep it local, so a full implementation of delivery service is yet to be determined. While you wait for the delivery service to get started, go ahead and make the trip up to Oh Vegan Soul, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, even if you’re not a vegan.
“I just want to say thank you to the Boise community with my deepest heartfelt thanks,” said Gaines. “I had been considering leaving Idaho but now I’m staying. This place truly is the Gem State because there are a lot of treasures here. This is just the beginning.”
Gaines also wants to feature other local vegan recipes after Oh Vegan Soul gets going … she even hinted at having a mac and cheese off.
For more information people can go to the Oh Vegan Soul social media pages that have links to menus or chowboise.com.
Tuna Melt Sandwich
Delicious mock tuna and vegan cheddar cheese, melted on grilled sour dough served with our delicious side.
This platter is loaded with all of our sides of the day and is enough to feed two. Loaded with collard greens, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, cheesy broccoli, soul rice, and cold salad. Add our V-chicken for more joy.
$15.00 – $40.00
Introducing our Signature Burger! This delicious beast will satisfy even the most picky non-vegan. It’s crafted with a seasoned patty topped with grilled onions, cheddar cheese and our special sauce all laying on a bed of green leaf lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and a toasted bun. Served with fries Or fried pickles. It’s a burger that even non-vegas will love!
Caribbean Jerk Sandwich
Spicy jerk, red cabbage coleslaw and our jerk sauce all topped on toasted sourdough bread served with 1 side. 🌶
Vegan Peach Cobbler
Delicious southern vegan dessert option loaded with peaches and a flakey crust.
All Fountain Drinks
Bbq Meal w/ 1,2 or 3 sides
These mock ribs are the fix for a craving for something smokey and savory. Comes with 2 sides** contains gluten** may contain almond or coconut milk.
$10.00 – $25.00
Crispy fried chicken style mushrooms has all the flavor of fried chicken but no chickens are harmed to make this meal. 100% cruelty free grub alongside your choice of three sides.
$10.00 – $25.00
Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich
The ultimate vegan chicken sandwich. A crispy southern fried style mushroom patty Is the perfect stand in for fried chicken. It’s laced with lettuce tomatoes and pickles and our savory sauce and served with fresh cut fries and fruit.
Choose one of a variety of side dishes for your meal or just because.
Toona (tuna) & Crackers
Savory vegan tuna with flaky crackers. A great snack on the go.
BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich
Delicious bbq jackfruit sitting on a bun with pickles and mayo.
Crispy and full of flavor fried pickles alongside a delicious creamy sriracha dipping sauce.
$10.00 – $15.00
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OH VEGAN SOUL
Chow Public Marketplace
7609 West Overland Road
Boise, Idaho 83709
Ph: (208) 295-1972
Email: [email protected]
Daily: 11 am – 2 pm & 5pm – 9 pm
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