When the long-standing Axe shut its doors, a lot of West Siders were pretty bummed—but then chef Matthew Kenney, a force in the plant-based movement, swooped in to take over the space, turning the upstairs into a plant-based cooking academy. The place still has a light, low-key vibe, with exceptional outdoor seating; the difference is the menu is now completely vegan. Kenney’s restaurants across the country all do things with veggies and nuts that you don’t see anywhere else. They’re known for their aged-nut-cheese plate, fantastic salads, and the (amazing) curried cauliflower tacos.

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