PiANTA Plant-Based Takeout Delivers More Vegan Options to Diners
Owner and chef Michelle Politano offers vegan variations for everyone, from decadent meals to healthier options as well as desserts and drinks.
Coming from a big Italian family, Michelle Politano used to feast on meat-and-cheese-loaded dishes at gatherings. But when some family members began to see negative outcomes from eating that type of diet, Politano decided to switch to a plant-based lifestyle. Now she’s feeding those same family members a vegan version of alfredo made with cauliflower, and loaded antipasto and Italian subs made with plant-based pepperoni and salami using two special family recipes passed down from generations.
“The reason I started my plant-based journey is because of my family. We grew up around food but the food we were eating was pretty unhealthy,” Politano says. “I started recreating the foods my family eats and I made them plant-based. That’s how I personally fell in love with this style of cooking and this lifestyle.”
She began her cooking career by catering small events and meal-planning for colleagues on the side while having a day job as a regional manager for a travel company, and transitioned to cooking plant-based cuisine about a year-and-a-half ago. When she was laid off during the pandemic, she decided it was time to pursue her dream of cooking full-time. “I’ve always loved cooking and been obsessed with it, but I became more passionate about it when I started my plant-based journey,” Politano says.
She sold her house in Boston, and then invested the real estate proceeds in a takeout-only restaurant venture she named PiANTA, and moved to Providence for its launch inside the city’s food hub kitchen, Bath Food Co. “I saw a need for more vegan restaurants in Providence. There is such an amazing community and it seemed like a sweet spot that could provide a service in the marketplace,” she says. “I personally wanted to be in Providence for a long time so everything made sense to me and I made the leap.”
The Bath Food Co. community kitchen space is a one-stop shop for food businesses to get their start without the high overhead of owning a brick and mortar restaurant, and it’s a place where consumers can easily order online and pickup takeout or request delivery. Bath Food Co. houses more than nine businesses at one time, including poke from Pokemoto, Yeye South American cuisine, Tilly’s cheesesteaks, Stackhouse waffles, African food from Abinchin Plateau and more. It’s a base where delivery drivers can pick up food for customers and transport it to various locations, or consumers can visit and order food from a touch screen on site.
For Politano, Bath Food Co. was the perfect solution to start a food business. “It’s a great place for new chefs and new restaurateurs to open up a place to get their feet wet and hopefully expand,” she says. “They may choose to launch in other cities doing the same thing, or in my case, my personal dream is to stay in this city and just change the environment I am in and eventually have a storefront.”
PiANTA plant-based cuisine has options for everyone, from decadent meals like plant protein steak and cheese egg rolls and buffalo chicken wraps (made from spicy pea protein tenders) to healthier options like raw rainbow rolls packed with crisp colorful veggies wrapped in rice paper with sweet chili and housemade peanut dipping sauces, and the Super Healthy wrap with sun-dried tomato hummus, carrots, cucumber, tomato, red onion, dressed greens, sprouts and vegan ranch on a wheat wrap.
PiANTA covers every craving, even dessert, with banana bread pudding, lemon lavender cheesecake and gluten-free brown sugar crumble cake. “There are a lot of specialty plant-based places in Providence like Like No Udder for ice cream and Blush Bakeshop for baked goods and so many pockets of vegan food, but for an all-encompassing vegan restaurant, there’s not too much out there,” she says. “There’s Asian cuisine, there’s Indian cuisine [and of course, Plant City], but this is a blanket place where you and your whole family can go, where everyone can satisfy different taste preferences.”
The plant-based food business is also getting quite the good reputation for bottled vegan coffee milk in a variety of flavors, including original, pistachio, salted caramel and coming soon, Snickerdoodle. The restaurant occasionally hosts special events like a vegan hot wieners and coffee milk day, where they serve plant-based weenies.
The takeout-only restaurant is also gluten- and nut free-friendly as cheeses are coconut oil-based, which is rare for vegan restaurants that often rely on nut-based cheeses. “Even our cheese doesn’t have nuts, because we know it’s really challenging for vegans who are allergic to nuts to find places to eat,” Politano says.
Politano can fool even the toughest of plant-based-phobic critics, which might include some of her Italian-American aunts and uncles. “It’s so crazy to have my older Italian family members now eat alfredo sauce made out of cauliflower and other family classics. They love it, but they are so skeptical,” she says. “I don’t tell them what’s in it, but I have them take bites and they are usually blown away and have a million questions. They don’t understand how it’s not meat.”
PiANTA, 65 Bath St., Providence, 401-499-5354, piantaveganrestaurant.com
A slide show featuring a variety of dishes at PiANTA.