Good news for our plant-consuming pals: Brandon Waller, founder and head chef of Bam’s Vegan, is expanding his popular plant-based business to a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Bam’s Vegan Smoothie and Wraps, set to have its grand opening January 2021, will be a spot for grab-and-go smoothies, wraps and other quick foods. The space will also serve as the main kitchen for Waller’s business, which became popular making vegan dishes like buffalo cauliflower mac bowls, smoked barbecue jackfruit sandwiches, and blackened garlic “shrimp” nachos.

Waller’s food stand at the Dallas Farmers Market has been a hit since 2018, but he and his small team would bounce from commercial kitchen to kitchen to prepare the food. It was costly to operate out of multiple places, and it also became inconvenient to transport food from the different kitchens to the market.

After checking out some available space in Irving with the property manager, he saw the potential for a new business. The new space won’t be much of a sit-down place, but it’s somewhere to grab nutritious and delicious options for a meal. That makes it perfect for the on-the-go types of eaters.

“I never wanted a full restaurant. I just wanted a place where I can just, like, manufacture product and produce products,” Waller says.

Shrimp nachos at Brandon Waller’s food stand in Dallas Farmers Market on June 2, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Robert W. Hart/Special Contributor)
Shrimp nachos at Brandon Waller’s food stand in Dallas Farmers Market on June 2, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Robert W. Hart/Special Contributor)(Robert W. Hart)

Waller has big plans going forward as well. Because Bam’s Vegan offers different kinds of food, from burgers to nachos, Waller says this flagship location’s focus will be on the healthier smoothies and wraps. Down the line, he hopes to go into plant-based burgers and heavier food.

He says this shop will finally be a place the company calls home. This will help establish company culture and build a team.

“When you’re looking at building a team and building an empire, you’ve got to have a place where people come and learn,” he says. “Almost every day, we have the same energy, we’ll be in the same space and we’re progressing.”

Bam’s Vegan also offers catering, pop-up events, digital cookbooks, apparel merchandise and even a gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free coconut-based cheese sauce called Truth Sauce.

Producing products like the sauce is going to be a big part of this venture. Waller says he wants to supply not only Texas, but California, New York and beyond. Down the line he does hope to open a fine dining establishment focusing on vegan southern food. The Louisiana native says that’s way down the road, but it’s on his mind. He knows those things take time and isn’t looking to rush anything, but is hopeful for the future of his business.

He calls his efforts for going vegan the perfect storm, saying he’s always thought of himself as an earth-y person. He studied environmental science and sustainability at UT Arlington and he’s a Taurus, which is an Earth sign in astrology. Already not consuming a lot of meat and dairy, he says it was easy to let go of those things.

Waller, a Black man, knows Black people have a strong relationship with food. He says learning how to cook was his way of teaching people in his community about where food comes from, how to eat better, and how to improve their relationship with food.

“That’s what really started my journey, just seeing how I can help benefit my people,” he says. “I never did it for a money grab, never did it to become popular.”

He says he doesn’t necessarily preach veganism, just overall healthy eating and a more plant-based diet. The goal is to reduce the amount of meat, processed food, dairy and oils you take in and to consider where you get your food from.

Waller is more about getting people to think and less about telling people what to eat. For example, he says there’s not a problem with someone eating meat, but folks should consider where the meat came from, what they’re paying for, and if pesticides or antibiotics have been pumped into the meat.

Bam’s Vegan Smoothies and Wraps will be located at 2301 N. O’Connor Road., Irving. Bam’s is not currently serving at the Dallas Farmers Market due to COVID-19. For more information, visit bamsvegan.com or check for updates and pop-up events on Instagram.

Farmers market favorite Bam’s Vegan to open new grab-and-go restaurant in Irving

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