Soul food pop-up VTree moved into a permanent location in the middle of Silver Lake on March 13. The new restaurant opened directly across the street from Millie’s Cafe on Sunset near Maltman in the busy Sunset Junction area.
Owned and operated by LA newcomer chef Velvet, she originally moved to LA from Charlotte, North Carolina where she opened her first plant-based restaurant, Veltree, in 2018. Velvet came to LA with a roving pop-up, which started at Yamashiro in February 2020. She later moved the pop-up outdoors in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Velvet eventually moved into a cheery space in Silver Lake, where staff call customers “hey sis” or “hey cousin.”
Those familiar with chef Velvet’s menu will notice an expansion from the original offerings of drumsticks, “crab” cakes, mac and cheese, and yams. New menu items include chickpea tuna wrap, vegan cinnamon rolls, and West African peanut butter stew.
VTree joins Silver Lake’s longstanding vegan restaurants Bulan Thai and My Vegan to create a trio of plant-based places in the neighborhood. The previously adjacent Flore Vegan was forced to move further east in early 2020 over a developer dispute. Velvet performed minor build out of the space that used to house Vive le Tarte, which closed in 2020. VTree’s opening time is ideal since since LA County just recently reintroduced 25 percent indoor capacity exactly one week ago. There’s also some outdoor seating.
“I love the weather here,” says chef Velvet. “You’re able to create a menu where you can play around with stuff. The vegan community here is so receptive for the flavors. As a food artist, my paint is the spices.”
Hours are noon until 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.