Vegan BBQ News
New Fort Worth vegan barbecue concept VBQ Smokehouse resides at Mariachi's
There's a new BBQ concept in Fort Worth dishing out a vegan rendition of barbecue fare: Called VBQ Smokehouse, it's a startup restaurant-inside-a-restaurant from chef Hank Storm, operating out of Mariachi's Dine-In at 5724 Locke Ave., where it's serving Southern plant-based barbecue, fixins, desserts, and cocktails every Sunday and Monday.
Storm has worked at many DFW vegan restaurants including Spiral Diner, Vegan Food House, and V Eats, when it was open at Trinity Groves. He currently works at Mariachi's on Thursdays-Saturdays.
"I have wanted to do my own restaurant for a few years but the mechanics can be challenging," he says. "I currently work at Mariachi's and owner Ashley Miller said, 'I heard you want to launch something, why don't we do it together?"
Mariachi's is closed on Sundays and Mondays so that's why VBQ is open those two days, taking advantage of the space when it would otherwise be idle.
They're starting with a small team - Storm, Miller, and Storm's fiancee Geneva behind the bar - and a small menu, centered on BBQ plates featuring vegan brisket, sides, and dessert.
Individual platters are $22, and feature a half pound of brisket with two sides, plus orange-cranberry crisp and a sparkling cranberry-mint lemonade. Meals-for-two feature a pound of brisket with three sides, and a family platter has two pounds of brisket.
Sides include mac & cheese, spicy green beans, coleslaw, and baked beans.
On Sundays they do brunch, with irresistible dishes like raspberry glazed burnt end brisket on a homemade blueberry waffle with raspberry coulee; potato hash with tofu scramble; and a mixed berry crumble parfait bowl.
On Mondays, they do a brisket mac burger, brisket mac tacos, brisket elote, and chopped brisket sandwiches.
"Nearly everything is made from scratch, I even make the mayonnaise that goes into the coleslaw," Storm says.
That includes the brisket, which Storm makes from seitan, a common plant-based substitute for meat. He'll eventually expand the menu, adding a Carolina-style pulled pork made from mushrooms, and smoked sausage.
"I even got a vegan casing, because I want it to have that 'bite' you expect with sausage," he says.
Storm says he was contemplating a few cuisines, but BBQ just felt right.
"Vegan BBQ is not something you seen done a whole lot," he says. "I grew up on a beef farm so I’ve eaten a lot of barbecue in my life. If you're from Texas, you probably grew up eating it, it's a comfort food. A plant-based version, I thought, 'Why is nobody recreating this and making it good?'"