Downtown vegan eatery Plant Bae blossoms after opening during pandemic

Brad Harper
Montgomery Advertiser

Quebe Bradford didn’t realize the enormity of what was happening until she realized that one of her regular customers was watching and getting emotional.

Bradford was taking the chairs down for the first time. It had been nearly a year since she opened her Plant Bae vegan restaurant in downtown Montgomery, and this was the first time she had seen people sitting in those chairs.

The restaurant opened just a few weeks after the pandemic arrived in Alabama, setting up at 175 Lee St. at a time when eateries and other businesses downtown were closing or adjusting to a new way of doing business. Bradford said because they opened in May, they didn’t qualify for federal assistance along the way. “It has not been for the faint of heart. There have been plenty of late nights,” she said.

What they did have, she said, was the support of the community. The local eatery is less than a year old and has morethan 6,000 Facebook followers. Plenty of those followers are now regular customers, like the one who watched her take down the chairs for the first time Saturday.

One who brought her family there for lunch last weekend asked if it was part of a chain. “It’s not a chain. It comes straight from our brains,” Bradford laughed.

Plant Bae restaurant has opened its dining room for the first time in downtown Montgomery, Ala., shown on Monday May 3, 2021. Plant Bae is celebrating its one year anniversary.

Her restaurant was born out of the frustration of not being able to easily find meat- and dairy-free American food, and it now features a wide-ranging menu of vegan burgers, tacos, nachos and even sushi. Bradford cooked up a recipe for a vegan Philly one day because she was craving cheesesteak, and the Philly Bae is now the most popular item on the menu.

The staff of 11 have also come up with their own concoctions as part of a “secret menu” that they’re letting customers order throughout the month.

“I’m just glad to be where we are now,” Bradford said.

They’ll celebrate the one-year anniversary from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday with music, samples and a birthday cake (vegan, of course). They’ve also expanded their hours and are now open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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