Veganism has always perplexed me. I understand not wanting to participate in greenhouse gas emissions or animal cruelty, and I totally get being vegan for health purposes. But what I find utterly fascinating are the number of plant-based consumers who turn to fake meats specifically designed to mimic the flavor and texture of real animal muscle.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed plenty of Buffalo Chick’n Patties and SmartDogs in my day. I used to happily throw down on a tempeh Philly or fried tofu Banh Mi. But vegan food is so much more than artificially-flavored, chemically-laced, fake meat pucks.
St. Pete’s first full-service vegan restaurant and bar, Good Intentions, is now open and slinging some damn fine vegan eats that are super-fresh and guilt-free.
Good Intentions is the brilliant, veg-head brainchild of proprietors of Golden Dinosaurs, Black Radish Vegan Grocery Store, and Nah Dogs. It’s nestled between St. Petersburg’s Edge District and Grand Central, and despite the vegan stereotype, no, it does not smell like hippies and patchouli.
When we arrived for Sunday brunch, the place was nearly packed with Gen Z hipsters and what seemed like a vegan cult following.
But my favorite part: The horseshoe bar enveloped in lush, hanging plants. It gives the ambiance of dining in a quaint little park. If bar seating is available on your visit, snatch it up.
While the mimosa bar was tempting ($29 for a bottle of champagne and two juices of your choice), I chose to double-fist a hot latte ($4) and ginger peach kombucha ($6) from St. Pete Ferments.
Against popular opinion, breakfast is not my favorite, nor is it my most important meal of the day. (Ironic, considering my wife owns breakfast restaurants I’ve spent the last decade working at.) But brunch at Good Intentions is anything but ubiquitous.
Appetizers first. Get the lemon whipped ricotta ($14). Not only will you be shocked that it’s completely plant-based but you will lick the bowl clean, because it’s that good.
Served with pistachio pesto and Szechuan chili agave, the dish is complete with sourdough crostinis courtesy of Gulf Coast Sourdough. Do you eat gluten free? They’ll hook you up with gluten-free toast points instead.
The Stuffed French Toast ($17) was killer. Chocolate babka bread was stuffed with sweet, vanilla cream cheese, coated in crunchy cereal and garnished with chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries. It also came with a side of fennel-maple sausage patties.
My bestie ordered the Smothered Breakfast Bowl ($15) which was a deliciously crafted, deconstructed burrito the size of her head. It was full of chorizo, home fries, scrambled eggs, and pico de gallo. Then, it’s smothered in queso, ranchero sauce, onion, and cilantro.
If it sounds like a mouthful, that’s because it is.
Good Intentions, 1900 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg, or 54th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, Tues., 5-9 p.m., Wed.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m., Fri. 5-11 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 727-280-6068, goodintentionsfl.com