Algorithm Vegan Grill scales back down to food truck after closing its Queen Village restaurant

Despite strong reviews and several accolades — its take on a Reuben earned a spot on the Inquirer’s list of best sandwiches in Philly — Algorithm Vegan Grill has scaled back operations with last week’s closure of its Queen Village brick-and-mortar at 705 E Passyunk Avenue.

Currently, “we’re refocused and re-driven on the food truck,” owner Matt Rafferty, 45, told Billy Penn.

The lease on the storefront, Rafferty explained, was no longer affordable; a reality that became apparent last December. A consistent challenge throughout the restaurant’s year-and-a-half run, he said, had been “breaking through [to] the mainstream market,” in a city that’s “still, traditionally, meat and potatoes.”

Algorithm opened the doors to its first storefront in November 2022, a little over two years after Rafferty launched the business from a converted medical equipment truck in University City. Debuting during COVID had been a calculated risk — “I figured during the pandemic the world was going to change, so why not just give it a shot?” said Rafferty. He had just been let go from a restaurant job and was wary of later reliving regrets similar to how he felt at not pursuing a music career 20 years earlier.

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