Imogen Sandbach chats to Maria Mappouridis from The Vibe, Liverpool’s latest vegan eatery – a destination that’s sure to make its mark on the city’s taste buds.
Photo: Andrew and Maria Mappouridis by Anthony Lavender
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAFÉ?
The Vibe is an independent family business. I’m in partnership with my dad, Andrew Mappouridis. But we also have my mum and my brother involved so we’re a real team!
THE VIBE IS A CAFE THAT’S 100% PLANT-BASED AND FOCUSES ON HEARTY, WHOLE FOODS THAT PEOPLE CAN ENJOY IN A NICE, WARM, WELCOMING SPACE.
We called it The Vibe because it’s all about the atmosphere. It’s a space for the community and we want everyone to feel welcome. We’re all about giving people things that make them feel good, whether it be food or drinks or service with a smile.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START THIS BUSINESS?
My family has always been in the food industry. My dad had fish and chip shops and although I originally studied art at university and trained as a goldsmith, I think the food industry has always been in my blood! I started working in cafés and restaurants more when I was travelling in Australia, and I just loved it!
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO OPEN A VEGAN CAFÉ?
I COME FROM A GREEK CYPRIOT FAMILY, SO GROWING UP IT WAS ALL ABOUT KEBABS AND HALLOUMI CHEESE.
I always enjoyed eating meat and never thought I would ever be vegetarian, but when I moved in with my best friend Victoria who was vegan, we would cook together and I learnt so much from her. Victoria was really getting into animal rights activism and she was having meetings at the flat and I would be intrigued and ask them, “What’s the big deal? Why is meat so bad?"
Eventually, when I started doing my own research and what I found just blew my mind as I’d never ever thought about it before and was so shocked by the mass levels of cruelty towards the animals in the animal agriculture industry. So, then I started getting involved with all this activism and also working in veggie restaurants.
I FOUND IT SO POWERFUL, GIVING PEOPLE GOOD FOOD AND POSITIVE ENERGY THROUGH GOOD SERVICE.
A few years later, my dad went vegan too, because we were all cooking together, it was just a natural progression. So, he sold his fish and chip shop and we started working together to open a vegan café instead.
Photo: The Salmon Bagel and Green Goodness Smoothie by Imogen Sandbach
WHAT IS YOUR BRAND ALL ABOUT?
It’s definitely about veganism and living a plant- based lifestyle, but it’s also about community. We really love our city of Liverpool, and we want to give people something that’s good for them - mind, body and soul.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST SELLER?
The Big One, which is a vegan version of an English breakfast with vegan sausages, tofu scramble and homemade baked beans. And everyone loves our vegan poached and fried ‘eggs’ all made from whole foods, with no hidden nasties. We also do a V ’eggs’ Royale which is smoked carrot, which resembles smoked salmon with a vegan poached egg and cashew ‘hollandaise’ drizzled on top. It’s all beautifully presented and it’s definitely one of our best sellers. It’s a very special dish, and it tastes amazing.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
We've got so many ideas for events. We’ve got a gorgeous upstairs space, I want to focus on utilizing that space, when we're not using it at the weekends when we're the busiest to have events that fit with that ethos of mindfulness, community and plant-based living. Our ideal events will be aimed at helping people live a more conscious and caring lifestyle through things like yoga, meditation and breathwork. We've got a women's networking group called ‘Not Your Babe Collective’ doing events upstairs as well in the next few months.
I WANT THE COMMUNITY TO BE ABLE TO USE THE SPACE AND MAKE IT MORE THAN A CAFE OR A RESTAURANT.
I would like The Vibe to become a welcoming space for the community to come together, connect and do things that bring them joy with themselves and each other.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU ONLINE?
Email email@example.com for any for information.