Plum Cafe is now Garden to Grill and wants to be the next Chipotle

The Plum Cafe & Bakery is now Garden to Grill. The vegan and often gluten-free restaurant got a new sign and fresh coat of green paint late last week, but the menu and staff have remained the same.

Why bother? General manager Monet Levalley said it was partially to emphasize that the business is a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner—it’s not just a cafe with pastries and coffee. It was also partially to distance Garden to Grill from its previous identity, Sugar Plum Vegan.

In 2012, Rey Ortega and Ron Russell bought Sugar Plum Vegan from Melissa Sugar, keeping much of the concept and menu in tact, including the cafe’s famous sweet potato panini. They changed the name slightly to the Plum Cafe & Bakery. For many consumers, it’s understandably confusing, as you can still find Sugar Plum Vegan baked goods all over town. With no storefront, Sugar now sells her treats wholesale. The baked goods at Plum Cafe/Garden to Grill actually come from Ortega’s other vegan business, Sun Flour Baking.

But now, they’ve got a bigger vision that requires a new brand.

“We want to create the first healthy, accessible option that you can find everywhere,” Levalley said. “Sort of like what Chipotle is doing.”

In other words, Garden to Grill wants to be a global chain touting simple, plant-based food to the masses. Though the original Garden to Grill at 2315 K Street is keeping its extensive menu, future outposts will offer a scaled-back version, focusing on sandwiches, burgers and soups.

Read more about it on Garden to Grill’s ambitious IndieGoGo campaign to fund its second location. Lavelly said that a second Garden to Grill will open in the Sacramento area regardless of crowdfunding success—owners have already begun scouting locations.

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