The Dallas Farmers Market is welcoming an unprecedented slate of new restaurants large and small, and joining that parade is Soulgood, a small restaurant serving "vegan fast food" that opens inside Shed No. 2 this spring.
Owner Cynthia Nevels has a vision: a restaurant that serves a healthy, vegan version of fast food. Her menu includes burgers, hot dogs, street tacos, pancakes, oatmeal and cupcakes, and she thought the farmers market was the place to be.
"I thought it was critical to be there because that's our audience," she says. "I wanted to get in front of patrons who are coming back to downtown and to the market, who are craving foods that are healthier for you, organic, yet don’t taste like cardboard."
She launched a pop-up stand at the market on Halloween that ran through until December, and now she's back for the spring and summer inside Shed No. 2, where she'll be back in business on May 2, alongside vendors selling produce, coffee, spice, grass-fed beef and more.
"There isn't a restaurant there that does what Soulfood does, which is just no meat whatsoever," Nevels says. "We're also organic, and that was important to me; it was paramount. Not everything we get can be locally sourced, but we wanted to ensure there were no GMOs or pesticides."
As a kind of splashy return, she's also appearing at the Earth Day celebration at UNT Health Science Center on April 23, and she's doing a demonstration at the Dirty Scurry, one of those mud-race events happening in Fort Worth on April 25.
Nevels, who's riding the current wave of interest in vegan and vegetarian dining, first debuted her concept at the Taste of Dallas festival in 2014.
"Each day we sold out," she says. "People were like, 'I can't believe you're here, I couldn't find anything I wanted to eat.' That solidified in my mind that I was on to something."