Chef Phillip and Jonelle Jones are knee-deep in holiday recipe testing for their new plant-based café and catering company, Kind Food, which they launched earlier this year in Kansas City.

Kind Food will open its own commercial kitchen as one of a handful of food vendors at The Iron District, a new retail and restaurant shipping container park opening in North Kansas City.

“We are proud to announce that Kind Food will be our vegan vendor inside The Iron District when it opens, hopefully in March 2019,” general manager Rachel Kennedy Cuevas says.

The Iron District plans to serve lunch, happy hour and dinner in addition to brunch on the weekends. Leading up to the opening, Kind Food has been testing its menu of healthy and delicious plant-based soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps in a series of pop ups all over town.

Phillip and Jonelle have been eating a plant-based diet themselves for the past five years, and quickly realized there was a need for special events and private party catering for vegan and vegetarian diets. Phillip has been working for years as a professional chef, while Jonelle has a freelance graphic design and marketing business. The two felt it was time to put both of their skill sets to use with Kind Food. 

“He is the magician, making magic with food, and I am the one behind the scenes,” says Jonelle. “Kind Food will be his full-time job once Iron District opens, and I will be helping with the paperwork and marketing and working events with him on the weekends when I can.”

Kind Food is known for dishes like loaded nachos, coconut “bacon” BLT wraps and a chicken salad-inspired chickpea salad. Phillip uses no animal products and no processed meat and cheese substitutes in his dishes, sourcing and using only local and organic ingredients when he can.

Warming Kind Curry bowls have been a recent cold weather hit, featuring rich vegetable curry served over quinoa, as well as dishes as simple as a black bean-based taco salad with greens, corn, bell peppers, pico de gallo, avocado, crispy tortillas and a chipotle cream drizzle. For Thanksgiving catering, his creamy potato cauliflower soup was a popular choice.

With FÜD gone from the Westside and Eden Alley Cafe now closed inside of Unity Temple on the Plaza, a new wave of plant-based catering companies, food trucks, coffee shops and restaurants are mobilizing to fill the gap and give plant-based diners more choices in Kansas City.

“Kind Food, Dead Beet Taco Co., Happy Apple Café and Pirate’s Bone – we are all part of a growing community of plant-based food retailers who saw a need for more vegan and vegetarian-based menus,” says Jonelle. “Although it has gotten better in Kansas City over the past few years, we still need more choices, and all of us want to put our own spin on plant-based dining and collaborate to add to the diversity of offerings that will appeal to vegans/vegetarians and carnivores alike.” 

With three guiding principles for Kind Food – kindess to animals, the planet and to each other – Phillip and Jonelle want everyone – plant-eaters or not – to feel a part of their club, literally. “We support community programs that encourage people, animal and earth-friendly practices, and soon, we’ll be launching our Kind Club, which will organize community involvement and volunteer opportunities around these principles,” says Jonelle.

Curious to try Kind Food's delicious plant-based dishes? The company is currently accepting orders for the holidays. Pre-order your Kind Food holiday meal by Sat., Dec. 15 for pickup or delivery on Sun., Dec. 23. Your meal will be packaged in compostable containers, ready to heat and serve. Just follow the simple serving instructions and you can enjoy a 100 percent plant-based holiday meal this year from Kind Food.

For more information or to pre-order your plant-based holiday feast, visit Kind Food KC.

Jenny is Feast's contributing editor for Kansas City. She brakes for chef's coats.

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