Bay Area's 'Vegan Mob' gives soul food and barbecue a unique twist

ByJason Beal Localish logo
Thursday, April 4, 2024
Bay Area's 'Vegan Mob' gives soul food and barbecue a unique twist
Vegan Mob is a unique food truck in the Bay Area offering a vegan twist on Soul Food and Barbecue.

SONOMA, Calif. -- At the Culture Experience Center in Santa Rosa, there's a food truck that offers a unique menu.

"We got the Mob Meals, you got the small Mob Plate," says Toriano Gordon, founder of Vegan Mob. "And you get your choice of a protein and three sides. Smoked links, brisket, rib tips, you can get fried shrimp."

Vegan Mob is a soul food and barbecue restaurant that is completely plant-based. Founded by Gordon in 2019, Vegan Mob has been serving the Bay Area delicious vegan cuisine ever since.

"I really love barbecue and soul food," says Gordon. "My whole mission was to make the plant-based version taste just like the version that I grew up eating."

Vegan Mob is so successful at making its food taste like traditional BBQ and soul food that, at first, people don't believe him.

"People get confused all the time," says Gordon, "they think that I'm lying to them, saying it's meat or it's cheese. I'm like, nah, it's vegan."

The menu features barbecue and soul food favorites with a plant-based twist. Such as greens, potato salad, candied yams, and macaroni and cheese, known here as "Smackaroni."

Gordon explains, "We call this 'Smackaroni and Cheese' because it's smackin'."

"This is food for a foodie," adds Gordon. "You don't got to be vegan, you just got to like good food. In fact, 60% of the people that pull up to Vegan Mob are not vegan."

Gordon says he switched to plant-based food after a health scare in 2018. He credits his improved health to his new diet.

"I wasn't getting better fast," says Gordon, "I felt like I had to change my diet. As soon as I changed my diet, like the flu just went away. And I was like, alright I don't want to eat meat no more. I don't want to eat none of that stuff anymore. So, that's how it happened."

Now, Gordon has written his own cookbook, published by Penguin Random House, full of Vegan Mob recipes and more.

"A lot of energy, a lot of time, a lot of recipes. A lot of emotion," says Gordon. "You know, it's just not a cookbook, but it tells my story and how Vegan Mob was created and how I got here. It's me in a nutshell. It's hip hop, it's food, it's family and spirituality, it's my life. It's like part of my life story in here, so it's a good read and get your food out of this. It's about 90 recipes in there."

So, what does the future hold for Vegan Mob?

"Just to be everywhere like air, and we want to be all around the world," says Gordon. "We want to spread positivity going into a healthier lifestyle with healthier thoughts and we want everybody all around the world to taste our food."

Gordon adds, "If you're on the fence about Vegan Mob or anything vegan, knock it out man. Come pull up on us, baby!"

Vegan Mob has locations in San Bruno at 1199 El Camino Real, at the Hangry Planet Gas Station, and at 13 West 3rd Street in Santa Rosa.

Find out more about Vegan Mob here.