Husband-and-wife team Reid and Sophia Trapani share a love of Latin cuisine, an appreciation for plant-based eating, and a desire to open people’s minds to a vegan lifestyle. The two launched catering company-turned-pop-up Happy Seed in 2018, serving Cuban-inspired vegan fare. They were overwhelmed with the response. After numerous delays, their first brick-and-mortar restaurant, La Semilla, is finally open.
With a name that means “the seed” in Spanish, La Semilla is an expansion of Happy Seed, serving a dinner menu that features the pop-up’s greatest hits alongside new, equally shareable items. Expect familiar flavors with carne asada tacos, ham croquettes, and a Cuban sandwich. Everything on the menu is plant-based: The queso does not contain a lick of dairy. The steak is not from a cow. The popular Crunch Wrap includes seitan-based “beef.”
Reid is the chef, with Sophia serving as general manager. “We’re highlighting seasonal humble ingredients with depth of flavor, like our cauliflower steak with mole,” Reid says. “Our goal is to encourage people to try as many plant-based options as possible.”
He recommends diners share at least one plate per section of the menu, which is divided into antojitos (little cravings, or small bites), para la mesa (for the table), and handhelds. Not all menu items contain faux meat; there’s a squash empanada and grilled corn with almond cotija. For dessert, order the platano split made with caramelized plantains and vanilla “ice cream.”
The bar program stays true to the concept with a focus on highlighting small batch liquor producers and South American biodynamic and sustainable wines (including select certified vegan varieties). Cocktails mainly feature mezcal, tequila, and rum—spirits made with agave or sugarcane. There’s a spin on a paloma, a mai tai, and a mojito. Mezcal is poured tableside into handmade Cash Ceramics copitas and served with sliced orange and house-made umami salt.
Everything at La Semilla is personal to the Trapanis. There’s a cocktail named after their cat, Wilson, who they call “Wheel” for short. An homage to Jerry Garcia stands in a corner, alluding to Reid’s fascination with the Grateful Dead. A photo of Sophia’s great-great grandmother is on display.
“The vibe is open and homey. It’s a place we love and want everyone to feel comfortable,” Reid says. “It’s our plant-based oasis.”
The 86-seat space includes a patio and bar. Greenery abounds, alongside cookbooks, records, and family pictures. The central bar is adorned with a hand-painted pattern by local artist Janice Rago, who also painted a mural outside the restaurant.
Reservations are available on OpenTable, but walk-ins are welcome. The Trapanis feel strongly that non-vegans will appreciate their cooking, too. They already have other, similar restaurants in the works. “We’re thinking about plant-based concepts that highlight different genres and styles of food near and dear to our hearts,” Sophia says.
Tap to view the full menu below:
The post Vegan Latin food from the Happy Seed team is now available in Reynoldstown appeared first on Atlanta Magazine.