The Plantry Cafe is elevating Baton Rouge’s take on plant-based cuisine

About 225’s food critic: About 225’s food critic: Benjamin Leger previously served as managing editor for 225 and was the editor of its Taste section from 2012 to 2021, editing, writing and steering the direction of its food coverage in print and online. He is passionate about all things food and food journalism, and has written about the greater Baton Rouge area’s cuisine and culture for nearly two decades.

THE BASICS: Owner and physician Katie Crifasi opened The Plantry’s doors in October 2023 aiming to provide healthy and elevated plant-based fare as well as space for monthly high teas and wine tasting events. The restaurant serves lunch, happy hour and dinner on Friday, with plans for a Saturday brunch in the works.

WHAT’S A MUST: The Tabasco Cauliflower Poppers are a crunchy, spicy hit with a vegan ranch on the side. Any of the seasonal flatbreads are worth a try, loaded with colorful ingredients. The Capri sandwich is a massive open-faced spread of artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper pesto and a cashew cheese spread.

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The plant-based food movement is one that I’ve often struggled to understand. I think that’s because plant-based food is often presented to look like a burger patty or chicken fingers, in what feels like an attempt to cater to people who also eat meat.

I don’t struggle to eat my vegetables, and I like them best when they look and taste like vegetables.

Thankfully, The Plantry Cafe owner Katie Crifasi seems to feel the same way.

“People generally seem to think that if you’re eating plant-based, you’re eating imitation chicken. You can actually do a lot with food without trying to pretend it’s something else,” she told 225 when the restaurant opened last year.

According to its website, The Plantry doesn’t use dairy, eggs or meat. The menu is all organic with many gluten-free options.

On a quiet Thursday lunch hour, I stepped into the restaurant off Bluebonnet Boulevard to sample Crifasi’s veggie-forward approach.


But rather than stepping into your standard strip mall eatery, I felt like I had just arrived early to an intimate secret garden party.

A courtyard entryway with potted topiaries leads to a cozy and well-decorated interior. Emerald green velvet tufted benches and dark wood chairs and tables surround the dining room’s centerpiece: a salvaged tree bedecked with branches of faux leaves and white flowers spreading out across the ceiling.

Sitting down at a fanciful table, I launched into appetizers.

First up: the Tabasco Cauliflower Poppers. Six large cauliflower florets are breaded with a gluten-free garbanzo flour batter and air-fried, then doused in a buffalo sauce. The sauce was spicy, the batter crunchy and a sprinkling of vegan sunflower Parmesan cheese alternative added a salty touch. Served with a house-made vegan ranch that had a consistency closer to custard than dressing, this was an easy intro to Plantry’s point of view.

Next, I tried a Seasonal Flatbread—this one with roasted beets, dried figs, walnuts and arugula. The flatbread consisted of thick wedges of pita smeared with a cashew cream cheese that inherited the deep red color and flavor of the beets. The appetizer was incredibly colorful and the components were all tasty, with a light drizzle of balsamic glaze that pulled it all together.


For my lunch entree, I went with the Capri sandwich and a side salad. Two large, round slices of toasted ciabatta bread were piled high with veggies—one with a cashew-based mozzarella alternative spread, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula; the other with layers and layers of marinated artichokes petals with a roasted red pepper pesto base.

This huge open-faced sandwich didn’t skimp on ingredients, and I couldn’t get enough of it. The artichokes were tender, the cashew spread was light, and the zesty red pepper pesto is something I would’ve bought in a container to take home. My only complaint—and it’s a small one—is that the artichokes were a little oily. Eating this sandwich required napkins at the ready.

The side salad was loaded with more colorful ingredients, including beets, slices of pear, pickled onion, a delightful sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and cubes of a cashew-based feta alternative. The cheese had a pungent aftertaste that made me think it was meant to mimic blue cheese rather than feta, but the rest of the salad was delicious and lightly dressed.

To finish the meal, I asked about the dessert of the day, Chocolate Bark. Rich dark chocolate was studded with dried berries, nuts and shaved coconut. It was a simple dessert, but I’m a sucker for dark chocolate and tart berries.

Each dish I ordered was just as artistically executed as The Plantry’s decor. The high-quality ingredients and precise presentation might somewhat explain the price points. All the lunch sandwiches are priced $16 or higher, with the Buffalo Maitake sandwich entering $20 territory.

Likewise, each drink on the cocktail menu was $18, more expensive than I’m used to seeing in Baton Rouge. But with ingredients like tea-infused liquors, house-made syrups and chickpea aquafaba, the cost is maybe a bit more understandable.

All of this brings home the point that The Plantry is aiming for an experience—and it’s hard to say anyone else in town is executing plant-based in such an elevated way. Whether you’re there for high tea, a dinner event or just a lunch break, you’re going to get really satisfying food that proves how inventive the movement can be. I’m interested to see if Plantry’s mission catches on in Baton Rouge.

I, for one, am ready to try more of its adventurous creations. The barbecue jackfruit, tofu banh mi and trumpet mushrooms caught my eye for next time. And maybe I’ll splurge on a cocktail, too.

What better way to enjoy The Plantry’s garden party, after all?


5454 Bluebonnet Blvd., Suite B

Lunch, Wednesday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Dinner, Fridays, 5:30-9 p.m.

This article was originally published in the June 2024 issue of 225 Magazine.