Vegan cafe coming to South Philly

VeganCommissary, 1703 S. 11th St.

Steve Laurence is expanding his South Philadelphia-based vegan wholesale business by opening a cafe in front.

He says he will open VeganCommissary by the holidays at 1703 S. 11th St., in a storefront just off Morris Street that has housed a series of restaurants including Lauletta's Grill, Family & Friends, and Adriana's.

VeganCommissary, a 35- to 40-seater, will serve dinner and weekend brunch, he says.

He's enlisted the kitchen services of chef Leigh Needham as well as a crew of "talented 20-year-olds" to execute the food.

Right now, they sell sandwich fixings, dips, spreads and such to such outlets as Sook Hee's at the Comcast Center, Eat-A-Pita, and Last Drop.

Laurence, who grew up in the restaurant business, studied and later taught at the Restaurant School and owned Village Grill in Solebury Township, Bucks County. More recenty, he waited tables at that decidedly non-vegan destination Barclay Prime and the now-closed Nick's Vegan.

He and his crew are doing all the work themselves. "We're funded but not richly funded," he explained.