When sisters Annette Baker and Marianne Lacko opened Nature’s Plate in 2015, their goal was to make healthy vegan meals for busy people. Turns out, that’s still their goal, and they want to reach even more people. Their new vegan market opened in North Dallas on May 17.
The storefront is designed to be a retail store with grab-and-go meals. The meals are made from scratch and packaged in the kitchen of the original location in Lake Highlands. Customers don’t have to be vegan to eat at Nature’s Plate, Lacko says.
“A lot of our customers aren’t vegan,” Lacko says. “They eat our food because they want an easy way to eat healthy food.”
Vegans and non-vegans alike can expect to find what Baker calls “plant-based whole foods.” They’re meals made with plants, whole grains, vegetables, nuts and no refined sugar. There are also options for people with gluten, dairy or nut allergies. Both Baker and Lacko have eaten vegan for over two decades.
There are regular-sized meals, which range from 300 to 400 calories. Larger portions range from 450 to 650 calories. And for the supremely busy, meal plans are also available.
Customers are welcome to come in and heat up their meals in the store, but there’s limited seating for eating, so big groups shouldn’t expect to eat altogether on-site at either location.
For some variety, Baker says the hot meals are on a six-week rotation and vary in cuisines such as Tex-Mex, Italian and American foods. Baked goods, salads and wraps will be regularly stocked with no rotation. There are some hot meals they try to keep in stock year-round, like the Sweet Potato Enchiladas and pint-sized packages, like eggless salad and chickpea salad. But to avoid confusion, the menus are found online and in store; patrons won’t be blindsided.
Baker and Lacko started Nature’s Plate after Lacko’s former coworker asked her to cook healthy meals for people around the office. Lacko had just had a baby, so she turned down the offer, but that got the sisters thinking about starting a business.
They started making vegan meals with a focus on health, and thanks to Baker’s certification in plant based nutrition from eCornell, they were able to do just that. While neither Baker nor Lacko are trained chefs, they say that being vegan themselves for over 20 years has given them room to experiment and fulfil their ultimate mission.
“Our main goal is to help people eat healthy, whole plants,” Lacko says.
Baker and Lacko are expanding the kitchen at the Lake Highlands location to increase capacity, and they’re scoping out a third retail location in Dallas later this year.
Nature’s Plate is located at 11811 Preston Road, Dallas. The original is located at 10233 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas.