Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RIP Vegiterranean

Even if you're not a vegan or vegetarian, odds are, you've heard of Vegiterranean, Chrissie Hynde's gourmet vegan eatery in Akron.  It had gotten acolades in the media, vegan press, and from the NEO foodie community.

Which was what made this past Sunday's announcement so startling.  Chrissie herself posted a message on Vegiterranean's Facebook page, announcing that Vegiterranean had served up its last meal and was closed for good.  Just like that.

I'd been to Vegiterranean two weeks prior and saw no signs that the restaurant was struggling.  The hostess was a bit overwhelmed and was turning busniness away, but I figured that was just a service issue.  The place was packed when I was there on a Sunday evening.  I'd been there many times over the years and had never seen the restaurant completely full, but I'd never seen it empty, either.

It makes me a little sad that this restaurant closed with such suddenness.  I feel like the vegetarian and vegan community in NEO could have rallied behind Chrissie and tried to "save" Vegiterranean.  If ever there was a time for veganism being popular here, I think it's now.  Look at the vegan businesses that have cropped up in recent years - there are vegan bakeries, vegan nights at restaurants, and so on and so on.

I wonder what wnet wrong?

I hope that other aspiring vegan business owners don't take this as a bad sign, though.  I do think there were a couple things working against Vegiterranean.  Location.  Price point. Difficult name to spell.  Maybe even service at times.

I'd love to see Chef J. Scot Jones migrate north and open a restaurant in Cleveland, or better yet, I'd love for one of our Cleveland vegan chefs to get the capital to start a real sit down vegan eatery.  Do you think the time is right?  Or is Cleveland just not ready for it?


  1. Cleveland is ready.. more and more places doing special vegetarian/vegan days, thriving new places like The Flaming Ice Cube downtown, Vegan Sweet Tooth in Eton.. the vegan wine and dinner pairing night they had at Melange was a huge success prompting them to start planning another that very night..

    I'd love to see Chef Scot come to Cleveland and either create a vegan menu at an already established restaurant, or open one of his own

  2. I read an article in Crain's that mentioned issues with her previous business partner and back taxes. In the article Chef Scott said lack of customers was not the problem.