MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One restaurant in Memphis is introducing people to a vegan diet, bite by bite.
Shroomlicious Meals owner, Daishu McGriff, will be the first to tell people that most of her customers aren’t vegan.
"They will try the food at festivals, or they're trying to meal prep, and they're like, 'This was good. You sure there ain't no cheese in this? You sure this is not meat?' Nah that's a mushroom," McGriff said.
McGriff had a natural transition to vegan foods. She was introduced to veggies at an early age through her father's garden. In the last year, she's weaned herself off of meat, then fish, and now eats truly vegan.
Her pop-up kitchen, Shroomlicious Meals, offers vegan options that, as the name suggests, are mushroom based. Everything from Birria Tacos, to Impossible Burgers to wings. It’s McGriff’s preference, but vegan “replacements” for meat can be anything.
"You can do cauliflower. You can do lentils, beans, anything like that has like, not as much as protein as meat would obviously, but just a sufficient enough," McGriff said. "For us mushrooms provide that texture that's close to meat, that earthiness."
The difference between a vegan and vegetarian diet is that with vegan options, none of the cooking uses animal products – so no dairy from cows, or eggs from chickens. That doesn’t mean it won’t be good or seasoned to perfection.
Shroomlicious Meals operates out of the Otherfoods shared kitchen off Heistan Place near Midtown and is open Thursdays and Fridays. McGriff said the shop, which she runs with her nephew, also frequents festivals in Memphis.
Shroomlicious especially caters to the black community, proving that plant focused meals can still be delicious and filling. They'll remix staples, like wings made from Blue Oyster mushrooms.
McGriff and other black-owned vegan shops want to expose the vegan lifestyle to their community, which is notorious for an aversion to trying meals outside of the traditional way.
"Majority of my customers are African American and so they come they try it, and then they keep coming. And then they are aware of other plant based options here," McGriff said.
McGriff knows it can be difficult to try new things, especially when it comes to dieting. Her own transition included her being honest with herself and not beating herself up if a slip up happened - like eating a meal her mom cooked that may have included products made with eggs.
"I have a lot of people to ask me how to transition and stuff. It's just offer yourself grace. No one's asking you to be perfect," McGriff said.
Shroomlicious Meals will be one of several vegan options this weekend at the Vegan Block Party happening in Mud Island Park.
Food trucks and vendors will be there from 11am to 5pm.