This Sunday, June 27, The Native (2417 N. Milwaukee Ave.) will host the first edition of its recurring vegan marketplace, The Gateway Vegan Market. The event will showcase a range of local vendors selling animal-free wares, including everything from food to clothes, art to plants, and more.
Sam Edgin, The Native’s manager, is the driving force behind the market. The idea came to him and Chef Max Musto of Logan Square-based vegan popup Herbivore (1801 N. Spaulding Ave.) during a conversation on their shared love of vegan cooking and baking.
A vegan himself for the past five years, Edgin said he was inspired to organize the market to help others see how approachable vegan food and products are. Even The Native’s offerings are almost entirely vegan, including the Malort slushy, cocktails, beer, liquor and seltzer. Wine is the only exception.
“We want to connect people who aren’t necessarily living that lifestyle with products they may not realize are vegan,” said Edgin. “Once you see how accessible veganism is, it is much easier to make those choices out in the world. I want the market to be your gateway drug, so to speak, to a more vegan lifestyle.”
In a neighborhood that prides itself on supporting local businesses, it’s great to have a place to highlight homegrown vegan entrepreneurs and artisans. And with a current waitlist of 40 vendors, Edgin will have no problem keeping the market busy with quality vegan products. After this weekend’s launch, The Native plans to host the market biweekly through September in an effort to bring continued exposure and opportunities to both craftspeople and customers.
On top of managing The Native and organizing the market, Edgin has kept busy with a vegan enterprise of his own: Vile Vegan Treats, which offers up horror-themed vegan baked goods like the “Scream Chocula Scream” ice cream sandwich. As happened to so many of us, the pandemic moved Edgin to fill his unexpected free time by doing something he loves: in his case, vegan baking.
“I started Vile Vegan Treats last August during the pandemic,” said Edgin. “The Native was closed, and we were unsure when we would be opening again. As someone who is used to working 60-plus hours a week, I was getting pretty antsy at home and was doing a lot of baking. I decided to blend two of my favorite things together: vegan baking and horror movies.”
Vile Vegan Treats will be at The Gateway Vegan Market selling vegan cookies and ice cream sandwiches, joining superfood sweets from Chia and Chocolate, craft pickles from Despicable Pickles, artwork and copper plate prints from Maestormheart, and soy candles from Mothlight Market. You’ll also be able to get vegan sushi from Snackie Chan, vegan tart pies from Tart Pie, Sonoran hot dogs from Herbivore, and much more.
This Sunday’s Gateway Vegan Market popup runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on The Native’s patio. The bar says, “This event is not ticketed, no RSVP is required, and there are no reservations available for seating. It will be a first-come, first-served situation.” For more details about the market and a full list of vendors, check out The Native’s Instagram page.
Featured photo: Michael Dhar