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Kayla Pasko Kayla Pasko

Chef Mark McKinney Is Opening a Vegan Restaurant in Philadelphia This Fall

This vegan chef is transforming his original pop-up into a restaurant concept in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

Last Winter, vegan chef Mark McKinney launched Primary Plant Based as a pop-up inside the Khyber Pass Pub Kitchen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Now, he is opening a brick-and-mortar version of Primary Plant Based, which will be housed at 161 W Girard Ave on Philadelphia’s Kensington-Northern Liberties border. The restaurant is slated to open in fall 2021 and will be BYOB.

Primary Plant Based Brick-and-Mortar Restaurant

Prior to developing a business plan for the Primary Plant Based brick-and-mortar restaurant, McKinney oversaw five kitchens as the culinary director of The Royal Tavern, Khyber Pass Pub, and three others, all owned by Stephen Simons and David Frank.

“After 15 years of working with Stephen Simons, Dave Frank, and Suzanne O’ Brian [Director of Operations for Simons, Frank & Co], I decided to venture out on my own. I knew I had a format that people enjoyed, [one that] I loved to prepare, and I was confident it would succeed. I left Simons and Frank May 18th. I immediately worked on the business plan. I shared with friends and family and quickly had investors on board. I looked at several properties before seeing Cadence located at 161 West Girard. I loved the location and after getting the tour I was all in. Thanks to current owners of Cadence, Jon Nodler and Samantha Kincaid, and the amazing Vincent Stipo at MSC, the deal was simple and perfect for Primary … and here we are. I take possession of the property September 1st. Immediately I will begin subtle changes to put my stamp on the place. The plan is to hold a grand opening [on] October 15th, but things happen. We shall see.” McKinney told VegOut.

Primary Plant Based’s Menu

McKinney plans to serve the vegan eats that were a hit at his Primary Plant Based pop-up, such as a Yuba noodle salad, bitter greens Caesar salad with red miso dressing, maple-glazed mushrooms & heirloom polenta, pea leaves with roasted sunchokes (a thin-skinned root vegetable), and Kohlrabi hand pie with black garlic aioli. In addition, the restaurant will feature a charcoal-fired grill and wood-burning oven, as well as an extensive weekly menu based on what’s available locally throughout the seasons.

To stay up to date on the opening of Primary Plant Based, check them out on Instagram at @primaryplantbased or visit primaryplantbased.com.

Kayla Pasko


Kayla, a Midwest girl living in NYC, is a writer with a background in media sales. When she’s not scoping out trendy vegan spots, she’s usually taking a yoga class, shopping at Trader Joe’s, or catching a Packers game.

Articles by Kayla

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