Matthew Kenney, one of the world’s leading chefs at the forefront of plant-based cuisine, continues to grow his food empire. His latest restaurant, BAIA Restaurant, is the first to grace the Bay Area food scene.  It has been re-imagined with COVID-19 safety measures in mind.

Slated open August 1st in the trendy Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, BAIA takes over the space that was formerly occupied by Jardiniére, an iconic Bay Area culinary landmark. BAIA will initially launch offering take out and delivery service only, expanding to full dine-in service within the next couple of months.

BAIA is a collaboration between chef and restauranteur Matthew Kenney and Kyle and Tracy Vogt. Kyle Vogt is the co-founder and CTO of Cruise, a self-driving car company currently using its fleet of autonomous vehicles to deliver meals for San Francisco food banks in response to COVID-19.

Prior to founding Cruise, Kyle Vogt co-founded the leading live-stream gaming platform Twitch. Over the years, Kyle has focused his philanthropic efforts on animal welfare causes including Charlie’s Acres, a farm animal sanctuary in Sonoma run by Tracy Vogt. By partnering with Kenney, Kyle and Tracy hope to accelerate their goal of driving impact for animal welfare while also providing more access to plant-based cuisine.

The Restaurant is Re-Imagined for Safety in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic

BAIA was set to open in April, but the pandemic stalled the opening. What this timing did allow is for Kenney and the Vogt’s to reinvent the space and help reimagine dining in the pandemic climate.

In the meantime, the restaurant will launch with a program the team calls “A TASTE OF BAIA,” a carry-out and delivery-service offering. A TASTE OF BAIA is a dining concept offering a selection of Italian-inspired plant-based dishes that will eventually land on the final BAIA menu.

Items will rotate on a weekly basis, allowing customers to explore and become familiar with the variety they can expect when the doors open for dine-in service. The takeout menu also includes a sustainable Italian wine and beer program, craft cocktails to-go, and innovative takes on pizzas, seasonal vegetables, and comfort Italian dishes.

You can expect to see your favorite Italian classics reinvented with plant-based cheeses, fresh pasta preparations, and more. A few of the menu highlights one can expect on A TASTE OF BAIA include the following:

  • Caprese: Cultured cashew “mozzarella” heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, and aged balsamic vinegar
  • Cavatelli: Fresh creamy pesto and parmesan with toasted pine nuts
  • Cacio e Pepe Pizza: White pizza with black pepper garlic cream, mozzarella,
  • parmesan and ricotta
  • Eggplant parmesan: Layers of eggplant, mozzarella and marinara with basil

With the new concept, Kenney says he aims to offer an elevated takeaway dining experience for plant-based eaters and omnivores alike. Cleary, Kenney is at it again—now alongside new entrepreneurial, mission-driven minds with Kyle and Tracy Vogt—as he continues to challenge the status quo of vegan dining while ushering in a new era of COVID-friendly dining.

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