Deck's Plate, a plant-based food delivery and takeout company, started a few years ago, after Erik Decker's younger brother, Evan Decker, moved back home to Sarasota from Orlando. When Evan returned, he was following a vegan diet, and since Erik did most of the cooking for the family, he had to figure out how to forego animal products.
Erik, now 31, cut his teeth in the kitchen at Mozaic, the much-loved downtown restaurant run by chef Dylan Elhajoui, now at Shore, and he also worked at the now-closed restaurant Pomona and at Lila. Erik is the chef at Deck's Plate and his brother, 26, is the sous chef, but Erik says the titles don't capture the essence of the business.
"He cooks just as much as I do," says Erik. "He just actually knows how to run a business." The goal, he says, is to "not just feed people, but to nourish people and to practice that with compassion and sustainability."
The two started as a delivery service based at home, then began catering parties and events and doing pop-ups at places like 99 Bottles. As the buzz grew louder, the brothers opened a ghost kitchen on Bee Ridge Road, offering delivery through Postmates. Today, you can place a delivery order online or call the shop and place a takeout order.
The menu is built around small plates—mostly sandwiches and slices of naan topped with various ingredients, plus salads, tacos and the like. The "Moroccan BBQ Naan" ($14), for example, features sautéed mushrooms, a harissa slaw, chermoula (a thick North African condiment) and pickled red onions—all layered atop a toasty wedge of naan. The falafel naan sandwich" ($13) has a similar architecture, but with falafel, a radish salad, za'atar and a red lentil hummus.
For something really different, try the crispy maitake sandwich ($16), a colossal creation that features big clumps of deep-fried mushrooms and pickles on an aioli-smeared bun. If the cauliflower wings ($9) are on the menu, don't forget to add them to your cart. The florets are big and crispy, and come tossed with more of those Moroccan barbecue flavors.
"We want to set a new standard that will put our city more on the map than it is already," says Erik. "Every day, cooking this food is inspiring."
Deck's Plate is located at 2300 Bee Ridge Road, Suite 207, Sarasota, and offers online ordering for delivery from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. To place a takeout order, call (941) 993-4191. For more info, visit the company's website.