Taste Restaurant Brings Vegan Flavors to Bridge Street

Vegan and non-vegan diners have many reasons to pay a visit to Taste, a newly minted restaurant in historic downtown Phoenixville.

The menu is solidly intact under the watchful and precise eye of executive chef Theo Charitos, who also runs the kitchen at the Red Cedar Grille in Colmar, PA. Trained professionally at Johnson and Wales, Charitos began working in his father’s diner when he was just nine years old. He’s a prodigy of sorts, and worked at the Four Seasons Hotel as a new grad after Johnson and Wales.

So how did Phoenixville become the location for Taste? It all started with early morning TV and a report about a new vegan butcher in Minnesota. Taste general manager and partner Chad Sletten saw the report, hopped on a plane to Minneapolis and waited in line at The Herbivorous Butcher.

He purchased a serious amount of product, took it to a barbecue, and wowed friends and family with vegan meats. As veganism grew as a food niche, Sletten’s wheels started to turn, and Taste was born. He partnered with veteran chef Charitos, whose expertise in the kitchen is unparalleled. Not a vegan himself, Sletten loves all of the dishes offered.

And how did fellow omnivore Charitos take charge of an exciting vegan menu? Charitos explained, “I had to humble myself and respect the concept of vegan cuisine.” Charitos really “gets it,” using the finest ingredients (mostly locally sourced vegetables, in-house made breads, etc.), including the new and popular vegan meats and cheeses by Minnesota’s The Herbivorous Butcher, established in 2014 by a brother and sister duo who have brought faux meats to a healthier and more creative level. Using quality ingredients to create a wide variety of products, most are created with a wheat base using delicious herbs and spices. They’re lower in fat than other ersatz meats and have a “clean” flavor and beautiful appearance.

Taste has established the balance and flavors in creating good-tasting vegan cuisine. People first eat with their eyes, and Chef Theo executes exquisite plate buildout in each dish. Moreover, Taste’s scratch kitchen ensures that every morsel of food is made to perfection. The menu unfolds from the beginning, with crunchy bites of Lancaster County pickled and marinated vegetables, to dessert, with an alpine ice cream sundae infused with Sand Castle Winery’s apple spice wine. Close your eyes after that first dessert bite, and you will think you are eating a slice of apple pie.

Our table was adorned with beautiful dishes selected by area manager Tyler Kinder, who made us feel that his restaurant is actually his own home. He was warm, gracious and kind.

Taste’s menu is easy to follow, and each food item is well-described. Do not be alarmed; Taste uses the regular spelling of meats, not giving them a crazy new spelling, as often denoted in faux meats. Rest assured that everything is vegan. Our menu selections included crazy-good vegan morsels.

Huli huli rib sliders with shredded root vegetables and a spicy spread are sandwiched between in-house-made slider rolls. Three filling sliders in one order—wow!

Chick ‘n BBW is a double batter waffle covered with Herbivorous Butcher’s vegan version of fried chicken. A topping of carrot crisps were made with a maple-bacon jam.

Laos Street tacos consisted of three deliciously flavored and well-stuffed tacos that contained Laos sausage, a pineapple and mango salsa and ripe avocado.

Grand ma flat was presented on a homemade rectangular flat layered with arugula pesto, fire-roasted tomatoes and “muzzarella,” and was quite beautiful to look at. It was like love at first bite. There is nothing like homemade bread; that is all I can say.

Not sure what I loved the best, but the standby of a delicious baby kale salad was packed with homemade candied pecans, dried cranberries and a cashew-based cheese. A citrus dressing brought all the flavors together.

Chef Alice Leung of Philly’s Soy Cafe joined me for the tasting and confirmed that each selection was deliciously prepared and well-appointed. She is very familiar with faux vegan meats and was able to lend her expertise to the flavor profiles on our plates. It is evident that Charitos has been hard at work rewriting standard, omnivore recipe favorites and creating new flavor profiles to honor the vegan palate. He gets the idea of nutritional yeast and recognizes its importance in the vegan kitchen.

When You Go to Taste

  • Grab the window seat. It’s perfect for people watching and gives a bird’s-eye view of the famed Colonial Theatre, backdrop to cult classic The Blob. Plus, lighting at the front window is perfect for taking photos of your food.
  • Street parking is a breeze, and there are also parking lots just off Bridge Street.
  • Take an omnivore with you—the food has perfect “crossover” entrees for all to enjoy.
  • Taste has a selection of imported olive oil and balsamic vinegar for purchase. Vinegars are hot right now as a flavor enhancer.
  • The bar serves all vegan libations.
  • No coffee just yet, but stay tuned for a local roastery to showcase its brew soon.

People practice being a vegan for better health, the environment and compassion to animals. Whatever your stand or belief, Taste is where you need to be for a delicious, hearty and well-thought-out plant-based meal.

Operating Hours

  • Monday, closed
  • Tuesday, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
  • Thursday, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
  • Friday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
  • Saturday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
  • Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Find Taste at 236 Bridge St. in Phoenixville; phone: (484) 924-9530.

  • Interior, sliders & dessert photos: Dallyn Pavey
  • Pickles & olive oil photos: Char Noaln
  • Remaining photos: Alice Leung

One Comment