When you lead a plant-based lifestyle, it can get pretty time-consuming. From the extra few seconds you have to spend reading through ingredient lists to trying to make vegan versions of classic dishes, it’s tough knowing you can’t just roll up to the nearest Wawa and grab a quick, actually-tasty vegan meal.
That’s why we were stoked when V Marks the Shop opened up in South Philly, a proudly-vegan convenience store offering all the creature comforts to make your herbivorous life that much easier.
It’s no surprise that, considering Philly’s blossoming vegan scene, the need for a spot like VMTS was necessary. But the origin story of this plant-based paradise is pretty unique. The owners are a couple who started their foodie adventures before the days of Instagram, with an old-fashioned (and omnivorous) food blog based in The Bronx.
A few years in, they shifted gears, adopting a completely vegan lifestyle and quickly learning the challenges of dining out while plant-based. Instead of lamenting this challenge, though, they took initiative and started selling hard-to-get vegan goods at pop-ups around New York. And, though they Big Apple was their home, they found themselves visiting Philly often enough to consider moving. Cue a move, the launching of their nomadic market, Philly Vegan Pop Flea, and the realization that pop-ups alone weren’t going to cut it for the local vegan masses, or their own ambitions.
The opening of V Marks the Shop, the first brick-and-mortar shop of its kind in the city, was celebrated by local vegans and omnivores alike. Alongside shelves and refrigerators stocked with seitan steaks, almond milk gelato, and s’more-flavored brownie bars, they’ve also established themselves as a community space.
There’s Wi-Fi in the seating area (ideal for any up-and-coming food bloggers that want to camp out while they try some vegan snacks), and they’ve been offering workshops and themed events, such as a nut-based cheese party and children’s activities.
Best of all, they’re also working on keeping the shop largely fueled by locally sourced goods. From pickled everything from Fishtown Ferments to frozen pizzas from Blackbird Pizzeria, the soul of the city can be found on every shelf. And as the shop—stocking local favorites like Baba’s Brew kombucha, Crust Vegan Bakery, and food from Miss Rachel’s Pantry—quickly becomes an Instagram-worthy paradise, the couple has now gone from food bloggers to toast of the town. Talk about the modern day Cinderella story.
Stop in Tuesday through Sunday for convenience, community, and hopefully a plant-based cheese sampling.