Plantitude giving Ladysmith vegans equal footing – Ladysmith Chronicle

Plantitude giving Ladysmith vegans equal footing – Ladysmith Chronicle

The eating scene in Ladysmith is about to blossom in a dramatically green fashion.

Plantitude, believed to be the town’s first exclusively vegan restaurant, is poised to open its doors in the fully-renovated former Barb’s Kitchen site downtown.

Karen Olenik has owned restaurants, coffee houses, and her own catering company for 40 years. Plantitude is the newest establishment she can add to her list of achievements.

Olenik’s menu is self-created.

“When people see the menu, it looks like any menu in any restaurant, but there’s no egg, dairy, meat, or honey. People don’t realize that with one or two little tweaks, you can make anything vegan. I mean, who doesn’t like pasta?”

Olenik wanted to create an all-vegan restaurant because there aren’t many places for vegans to dine out in the area, with limited items on menus.

“For vegans, the thing that makes it difficult is not being able to go in and just order anything you want,” she said.

“Everybody can come in and order what’s on our menu – but for a vegan to come in, and not have to ask any questions about the food other than, ‘Which would you choose, this pasta or this pasta?’ – that’s huge, because they spend all their time verifying that what they are eating is aligned with their morals. It’s a big process for people who chose to be vegan and honour their animal friends.”

“I am a vegan in training,” Olenik said, “but my partner is a vegan and all of our staff members – without intentionally doing so – are all full vegans and have been for a number of years.”

Olenik is still waiting to get an occupancy permit from the city before she sets an official opening date.

“We’re supposed to open at the end of January but unfortunately my hands are tied because of bureaucracy,” Olenik said. “Definitely by Valentine’s, I would hope, but that depends. If we don’t have occupancy then there’s nothing we can do.”

Plantitude will be open for dinner from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. Olenik hopes that within six weeks of opening, they can begin to extend their hours for lunch, from 11a.m. until 11 p.m., seven days a week.

“Once we open for lunch, then we will expand in May for breakfasts and coffee at 7 a.m., and we’ll do weekend brunches after that – a little progression when we feel like we’re ready to take the next step.”

Plantitude is all ages with an upscale interior, located at 431 First Avenue.

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