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New Shop: Plantae is Buffalo’s First Vegan Convenience Store with Premium Sourced Products

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Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Published on August 17, 2022
Plantae / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo

Vegan options are proliferating across Buffalo and one of the newest is Plantae — a boutique food shop on Grant Street in Buffalo’s West Side.

Owner Donisha Gant says the new market is the culmination of her own personal journey with veganism. Gant says she started eating vegan a few years back because of health reasons, and it took her a while to find plant-based replacements for the things she loved to eat, like ground beef.

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Plantae / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo
Plantae / Photo courtesy of Plantae
Plantae / Photo courtesy of Plantae

“Becoming vegan was trial and error,” she says. “There were some things I didn’t like at first but grew to like over time, and I was able to find vegan substitutes that fit my taste.”

As veganism has become more popular over the decades, food science has evolved to offer all kinds of plant-based foods. If you told someone just five years ago that Burger King would be selling plant-based Whoppers and Starbucks would be featuring lattes with almond milk, they would have told you to go back to Burning Man, where you came from.

The secret sauce behind Plantae is sourcing. There are so many vegan options out there, often made by small independent food companies, it’s difficult to know what is good and what isn’t. At Plantae, Gant focuses on bringing in premium products.

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Plantae / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo
Plantae / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo
Plantae / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo

“Before, vegan had to stick to salads and things like that, but now – oh my gosh — there are so many options,” she says. “There are a lot of innovative food companies putting out things that were great vegan substitutes, with great flavor and textures. Like I have vegan chicken drumsticks and bacon that are ‘a ten’ in my eyes.”

She’s right. The Beleaf Vegan drumsticks I bought tasted savoy and filling, especially with a bit of barbecue sauce. The company’s vegan bacon was also a bang-on replacement for the pork version.

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Plantae / Photo courtesy of Plantae
Plantae / Photo courtesy of Plantae
Plantae / Photo courtesy of Plantae

But as good as vegan food is right now, it’s still a bit of a niche. Partly because of this, there is a strong community around it, especially here in Western New York. Gant says she’s felt the love from the vegan community and there are plans to feature local venders at Plantae in the near future.  

“During my Grand Opening day, I met a lot of local vegan vendors that were interested in doing pop-up events in the store,” she says. “So everyone has been getting in touch and we’re hoping to become a big community. Everyone has been coming together, sharing each other’s posts online, and talking about collab-ing. It’s just wonderful to have a great, growing community.”

Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Plantae Market

212 Grant St. Buffalo, NY

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Plantae is an innovative specialty vegan grocery store located in Buffalo NY. We are dedicated to educating the public and youth about exploring healthy ...

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Written by <a href="https://stepoutbuffalo.com/author/brett-smith/" target="_self">Brett Llenos Smith</a>

Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Brett Llenos Smith is a freelance writer based in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood who has been covering local food and culture for Step Out Buffalo over the past six years. As someone with a multi-ethnic background, he has a passion for exploring and understand the many diverse corners of Western New York.
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