Plant City Opens Speakeasy

Providence’s plant-based food hall and marketplace launches new concept with veggie-forward bevvies

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With no signage beyond a markedly unflashy “345” posted above a black awning to denote the South Water Street address, Plant City’s new bar concept crept onto the scene last month. Across the parking lot from the vegan food hall, you enter through the bakery and prep kitchen (where friendly cook Julio will likely wave hello), set foot through another door, and find yourself transported.

“We wanted people to have that moment when they walk through that black door in the back of the bakery like Alice in Wonderland falling through the looking glass,” says Kim Anderson, co-founder of Plant City who, along with executive chef Luis Jaramillo, developed the speakeasy-style 345, a space that’s both dimly lit and cozy but lush with accents of greenery.

“I don’t know if you noticed that we have seven black pigs sitting on the bar,” Jaramillo says coyly. “There’s seven black pigs with golden feet and golden wings.” He explains that for months he had been pitching the idea to Anderson of a bar “that’s a little bit different, that encompasses our [plant-based] ideology, our philosophy.” 

Anderson’s answer? “When pigs fly.”

Of course, this was during the height of COVID when the idea began to take shape – a few months ago, emerging somewhat from the pandemic, the timing was right and Anderson greenlit the project. 

Jaramillo, a long-time consultant and chef who owned his own restaurant in New York City, has been with Plant City since opening. Though there are three full bars inside Plant City, Jaramillo says, “it’s much more of a higher volume, so serving high-end cocktails to 1,000 people per night is impossible.”

Enlisting the help of good friend and award-winning NYC-based mixologist Darnell Holguin, Jaramillo started laying out veg-forward flavors like celery and beet juice. At a typical speakeasy bar, he says, “You get their version of another cocktail. I was much more interested in utilizing savory items that go well with alcohol.” The result is concoctions like Medical-Medium – a gin drink featuring celery juice and yuzu liqueur, garnished with a leafy celery stalk – or Phat Beet with cachaça (a Brazilian sugar cane spirit) and golden beet juice.

And mocktails are given the same level of attention. “There are a lot of people who choose not to drink alcohol for a myriad of reasons and I want them to still be able to have this speakeasy experience,” says Anderson. Instead of a club soda and lime, non-drinkers can have “the funky fun creative cocktail experience with the gorgeous garnish and the cool Instagram pics.” 

Jaramillo and Holguin developed Liquid Gold, for instance, which uses the leftover fruit from the citrus peel garnishes from other drinks. “We hate waste, so we combine them into a juice,” says Jaramillo. “We mix it with jalapeños, mint, and simple syrup and came up with this beautiful mocktail.”

The vibe at 345 is all about bringing people together over drinks and shareable apps, the experience of splitting apart a tapioca pearl-based version of pork Chicharrones or digging into the bountiful “Seasonal Raw Bar” of veggies and hummus. “Coming out of three years of not being able to see one another, not being able to be around someone that you enjoy the presence of, it’s time that we have some social interactions, a social space where we can actually share,” says Jaramillo.

As a homage to this cozy nook that almost wasn’t, “When Pigs Fly” will soon land on the cocktail menu with a daring blend of carrot juice, miso, and bourbon. @345plantcity

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