Vegetarian and plant-based foods are not the same thing. 

An Oreo technically is vegetarian, Jenna Baker told Knox News, but that is not the type of food she plans on bringing to her new fast-casual and plant-based restaurant, Vidl, scheduled to open spring 2022 in the Old City. 

The business will be located in the former home of Blühen Botanicals at 111 E. Jackson Ave. and will offer dine-in and to-go meals that promote good health.

Jenna Baker is photographed in the space where Vidl, Baker's fast-casual and plant-based restaurant, will open in Blühen Botanicals' former space at 111 E. Jackson Ave in Knoxville's Old City.

The restaurant also will offer wellness education, and its name is an interpretative spelling of “victual,” an archaic word for “food.”

Baker plans for customers of her already-established boxed meal service to pick up orders from the new space by the end of January.

The take-home meals, packaged as Be Well Boxes, come with ingredients for salads, plant-based entrees, soups and desserts that can make between 10 and 20 meals. 

Baker has been selling the boxes since 2019 out of a small space in The Glowing Body Yoga & Healing Arts building just north of downtown on Irwin Street. 

“In March (2020), everyone else was trying to do what I had been doing on my own terms since the end of 2019,” she said. “I had spent four months figuring out how to package food and sell it. And so I was in a position to just keep doing business, which had its own stressors.” 

Back to the roots in a new space

The model for her Cook to be Well business, which started in 2018 with grab-and-go meals, became so popular she decided to hire additional help and expand the days boxes were available for pickup. 

Baker began selling out, she said, and had to cut the grab-and-go meals. 

The Old City property, of which Vidl will use 4,000 square feet, will allow the grab-and-go meals to return, along with Be Well Boxes and a new sit-down experience. 

Vidl, a fast-casual and plant-based restaurant, will open in Blühen Botanicals' former space at 111 E. Jackson Ave in Knoxville's Old City.

Baker has brought on business partner Laura Lyke, who owns the building and became interested in the Vidl concept.

The space includes a glass room for growing vegetables, which customers will be able to see while dining. The hydroponic systems Blühen used to grow hemp will be replaced with plant beds. 

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Behind the glass room is an open space for yoga classes, cooking classes and other types of educational opportunities, which Baker plans to offer with help from like-minded community groups when the restaurant is closed in the evenings.