After running The Liquid Menu since October 2014 at 650 Castro St. (a few blocks away from where he works as a chef, Morocco’s Restaurant), he realized it was a "niche," so "we decided to zoom out a little bit and expand our offerings to not only juice, but also food and vegan food as well as pastries," he said.
Named after the iconic symbol for rebirth (a reference to both the shop's reopening and the idea that healthy eating contributes to a physical rebirth, Essadki said), The Phoenix is now serving up vegan breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch.
The breakfast menu includes items like a vegan, gluten-free cake, the "Phoenix Oats" (steel cut oats with coconut milk, banana, cacao powder and vanilla), a chia-seed cup, banana-almond sandwich, coffee and tea.
Lunch items include a Mediterranean quinoa salad; a sandwich with matcha guacamole, tomato, lettuce, onions and a garbanzo spread; and a tofu and avocado rice bowl, among others.
The Phoenix still serves made-to-order fruit and vegetable juices as well as smoothies.
Check out the full menu here. Essadki said the menu will rotate every few weeks, focusing on a different region of the world.
The Phoenix also offers a lunch-time buffet, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., as well as a brunch buffet on Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (What’s served at a vegan brunch, you ask? How about vegan crepes, smoothie bowls, scrambled tofu and roasted potatoes.) Current buffet lunch items include a coconut curry, rice with vegetables, eggplant "no parmesan," pasta and more, Essadki said.
For the buffet, if you’re getting take-out, you can get two items in a small box for $6.95, or four items in a large box for $10.95. If you’re dining in, it’s all you can eat for $12.95.
With the menu expansion, The Phoenix is now also offering catering services, Essadki said, and plans to launch a juice subscription program this summer.
Phoenix also sells mixtures of herbs, fruits, nuts and other health-forward ingredients called the "Elements” that Essadki said can be added to almost anything, from smoothies to salads. The "Zen" element, for example, includes green algae, raw pulse, flax seed and bee pollen; "Focused" has lemon balm, kola nuts, acai, fresh mint and cinnamon.
Essadki isn't quite yet vegan himself, but has cut down on the amount of meat and seafood he's eaten over the last few months.
His mission at The Phoenix, he said, is “really about helping people understand that vegan food is actually delicious.