Sophie Bolich

Plant-Based Vendor Coming to North Avenue Food Hall

Plant Joy set to open this week, offering pre-made meals, soups, salads and more.

By - Apr 19th, 2023 11:10 am
North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave., photo taken Sept. 6, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave., photo taken Sept. 6, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

After a season of rapid change, North Avenue Market is settling back into normal operations, with plans to welcome a new vendor in the coming days.

The new addition, Plant Joy, would be the first fully vegan concept for the food hall, 5900 W. North Ave., which currently houses two cocktail bars and a cafe selling coffee, sandwiches and bakery.

Amberlea Childs, owner and head chef at Plant Joy, drastically altered her eating habits at age 36, after she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She joined an integrative chemo program, which incorporated massage, nutrition, community and physical therapy. The holistic approach not only made the process more comfortable, said Childs, but also improved her culinary skills and knowledge of plant-based eating.

After her treatment and recovery, Childs resolved to share her new enthusiasm for healthy, nourishing and flavorful food with a wider audience.

In 2014, Childs became a certified Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. That same year, Childs launched Plant Joy as a community education tool and vegan meal delivery service.

“The idea with Plant Joy is that we’re rebooting family favorites,” said Childs, who also noted that oftentimes, food is connected to powerful family memories, which makes people reluctant to part with particularly nostalgic dishes — even for health reasons.

“It feels very personal, when people are trying to make dietary changes because they feel like they may be leaving their family behind,” she said.

At Plant Joy, Childs aims to recreate those family dishes with plant-based ingredients. “My goal is that you eat it and you don’t know the difference,” she said. “You just like what you’re eating, and you want more of it.”

Today, the business offers a rotating weekly menu of seasonal dishes such as pasta puttanesca, breakfast burritos, broccoli “cheeze” soup and baked teriyaki tofu for pick-up and delivery throughout the Milwaukee area.

The North Avenue location recently joined the list of local pick-up spots for Plant Joy, which also includes Riverwest Co-op & Cafe, 733 E. Clarke St, Pop’s Marketplace in Muskego and Tricia’s Troops Cancer Connection in Delafield.

In addition to pick-up service, the vendor will offer walk-up service to market-goers, as well as bulk items. The menu at North Avenue Market will rotate weekly, said Childs, but customers can always expect a soup, salad and plant-based bowl option.

“I think being able to have a plant-based option at somewhere like the North Avenue market makes it more accessible for people to eat healthy,” Childs said. “And hopefully, it encourages people to keep doing something like that.”

The stall will also post a monthly menu so that visitors know what to expect in the coming weeks.

In addition to meal prep and delivery, Childs, who holds a professional plant-based chef certification from Rouxbe Culinary School, hosts virtual and in-person cooking classes, and offers coaching and catering services.

Plant Joy is also a regular vendor at the Milwaukee Winter Farmers Market.

The business operates out of a commercial kitchen space at 8103 W. Tower Ave. Meal orders can be placed online each week for delivery or pick-up.

The North Avenue Market stall is set to open this week. After that, its hours of operation will be Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The business is offering a discount code for North Avenue Market customers in celebration of its opening. For online orders, use code NAM15 for 15% off.

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