Vegan Mob, the Oakland-based meatless BBQ pop-up — which garnered a cult-like following this past spring — now has less temporary roots in the Bay Area, taking over the Grand Lake staple Kwik Way Drive-In, with long lines in tow.
Opened this Saturday in sunny Oakland, legions of devoted fans, boasting diets that spanned from strictly plant-based to curios omnivore, stood outside the 500 Lake Park Avenue address, waiting to sink their forks into meat-free specialties like mac-n-cheese, pulled BBQ sandwiches, and (much) more.
Toriano Gordon, the man behind the vegan BBQ destination, is as warm and uplifting as the “#VeganSouFood” he’s curated and brought to the Bay Area masses; we briefly met him at opening day, he smiling as he talked to SFist about the plant-based “brisket.”
And, much like his exuberant personality and IG account, Gordon has sprinkled in his own quirks into the chromatic food stop.
“I incorporate my hip-hop energy into Vegan Mob and that helps it stand out,” said Gordon to Caleb Pershan of Eater SF, prior to opening. “I like to entertain, and I like to cook — I want people to enjoy it.”
That was evident on Saturday, where a DJ spun hip-hop tracks to entertain the dozens of patrons that snaked around the neon-green building.
Gordon’s cruelty-free fare is an ode to his Lone Star-raised grandmother; she previously ran a cafe in the Fillmore sometime in the ‘60s. His mantra to executing vegan-friendly cuisine is welcomingly simple: “[I just try to] replace the meat with something meatless, and what works...works,” he tells SFist on opening day.
With entrees priced at $20 or less — in fact, most of the menu items sit between $10 and $15 — it’s little wonder why they sold out of (literally) everything before their second day. As the Chronicle's Justin Phillips reported, Vegan Mob didn’t have a single plant-based “meat” product after Saturday's grand reveal, but, thankfully, crowd favorites like the “barbequito” are back.
Gordon re-opened today...with a stocked kitchen and eager lunch crowd waiting in the wings.
Open Tuesday through Friday, from 11am–3pm and 5–9pm, and weekends from 11am–8pm, swing by Vegan Mob’s 500 Lake Park Avenue hub to see what all the (deserved) hype is about.
Image: Instagram via @officialveganmob