Food-savvy Bostonians who have yet to travel to Plant City, the wildly successful 10,000-square-foot vegan food hall and marketplace that opened in Providence in 2019, can now get a taste of it much closer to home.
One of Plant City’s most popular restaurants, the Michelin-rated, New York-based pizzeria Double Zero, is, after several delays, opening at 163 Newbury St. (between Dartmouth and Exeter) on July 9.
The Italian eatery and wine bar, which will have an open kitchen and seating for 62 diners inside (52 at tables and 10 at the bar) and 26 more on the patio, is the brainchild of celebrity chef Matthew Kenney. The author and wellness entrepreneur has five other Double Zero restaurants — including the original East Village location in New York City that opened in 2016.
“I’ve always loved Boston,” said Kenney, 56, who was born in Hartford and raised in Searsport, Maine. Besides being a Red Sox fan, Kenney said he enjoys the dining scene and thinks Double Zero will be a welcome addition. “I think it’s a market that has a demand that is not being served. There are so many people who want elevated, high-quality, plant-based ingredients in a fashionable environment that isn’t like going to what our perception of a vegan restaurant might have been 10 or 20 years ago.”
The interior will be similar to the design layout of the NYC Double Zero, with natural and light woods, polished concrete floors, and walls adorned with mirrored shelves displaying organic, biodynamic wines.
“The wine list is comprised of organically made, high-quality and naturally vegan wines from mostly family-owned estates, all designed to pair with Double Zero’s range of Italian-inspired dishes,” said Sunny Gundara, wine director of Matthew Kenney Cuisine, in a statement. “The idea behind the wine selection is to show that vegan wines can span from classic regions to new and exciting areas of the world with producers who focus on environmentally friendly farming.”
And while the menu will feature plant-based takes on traditional Italian fare ranging from eggplant parmesan (with marinara sauce, cashew mozzarella, rice mozzarella, and macadamia ricotta) to cacio e pepe (with black pepper cashew cream), to pasta bolognese (with walnut mushroom ragu), the star of the show will no doubt be the wood-fired pizzas.
Kenney said the combination of 00 flour — a finely ground Italian flour that thrives in the high heat of pizza ovens and has a lower gluten content than traditional pizza flour — and a unique assortment of toppings make his restaurants’ pizzas exceptional.
The menu features Double Zero classics including the Truffle Pizza with cashew cream, wild mushrooms, Tuscan kale, and lemon vinaigrette, the Bianca Pizza with macadamia ricotta, cashew mozzarella, almond parmesan, rice mozzarella, pepperoncini, rapini, and plant yoke, and the Artichoke Pizza with tomato, spinach, garlic cream, balsamic, and shallots.
Gluten-free crusts made with an in-house blend of non-wheat flours are available.
Evelyn Kimber, president of the Boston Vegetarian Society, said that ever since Kenney spoke at the Boston Veg Food Fest in 2019, she has been eagerly awaiting the restaurant’s opening.
“We are so excited that Matthew Kenney is bringing his superstar status as a vegan restaurateur and vegan entrepreneur to Boston,” Kimber said.
While the number of people eating more plant-based food was on the rise prior to COVID-19, numerous recent studies and trend reports show that there was an exponential increase during the pandemic.
“The continued and frankly explosive growth in the plant-based market is something I’ve been waiting . . . many years — even decades — to see, and we’re really excited to be a part of it,” Kenney said.
Juliet Pennington can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.