Chef Julia Simon, owner of plant-based food delivery service Nourish Charlotte, and her business partner Erik Berns have announced their first brick-and-mortar concept, Plant Joy in Camp North End, expected to open in November, filling the last of four new food stalls.
Simon was in charge of the menu and branding for Plant Joy, while Berns was the creative force behind the design of the space, located outside the 76-acre Gama Goat building, which opened in June. Berns had help from Cluck Design and nearby Goodyear Arts resident Grace Stott, who is currently designing a whimsical vegetable-themed mural that will be the focal point of the food stall.
“The phrase ‘plant joy’ has been a personal mantra of mine this year as both an action and a direction,” explained Simon in a release. “It’s a reminder to make joy happen now, to plan for it in the future and to return to the earth for our most favorite meals. At Plant Joy, we hope to honor plants and all they offer both in terms of culinary creations and karmic energy.”
In 2012, Simon and her then-business partner Laura Neff founded Nourish, the first of its kind in Charlotte. Since its inception, the plant-based delivery service has inspired countless locals to make the transition to a plant-based diet. In 2014, Julia took on full ownership of the company and with the help of her team, encouraged a revolution of progressive eaters.
“We are intentional about every action we take in the kitchen as we strive to provide you with the highest level of care and craft in the business,” Simon shared.
From Delivery to Roots
As with her meal-prep delivery service, Simon’s goal with Plant Joy will be for each dish to be a celebration of locally-grown and organically sourced produce. Inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, the menu includes a chickpea crepe known as Socca, Rainbow Toast, and a falafel sandwich, showcasing rich, bright flavors and colors that highlight regional fare. Patrons can also expect a variety of locally-sourced pastries and some fan-favorites from Nourish Charlotte.
“We’ll be offering some of the healthiest, most sustainable food in town,” Simon says. “It is locally sourced, nutrient-dense, organic, delicious vegan goodness. We truly believe that food can be curative and good in every way, and we want our guests to experience that.”
Public service was never a foreign concept to Chef Simon. The Nourish team prides itself on supporting nonprofit organizations such as Feed the Movement, which has provided food to Jail Support, protesters and others throughout the summer, by using leftover food to put toward the cause.
By including sustainability information in every order, writing blog articles and educational social media posts, hosting in-person educational events for food vendors, Simon and her team have been successful in educating the community on waste reduction, recycling and sustainability. In doing so, Nourish Charlotte received Mecklenburg County’s Recycling Excellence Award just last month September.
Julia Simon aims to bring that same level of care to Plant Joy by offering what they call a Community Plate which allows guests to pay it forward and purchase a meal for someone who might not be able to afford one otherwise.
Located in Camp North End at 1801 N. Graham St., Plant Joy will be open Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. for walk-up service. Online ordering for delivery and takeout will also be available at the Plant Joy website and through third-party delivery services. The location will also serve as a pickup spot for Nourish Charlotte orders.