Saying goodbye to Veggie Heaven

Veggie Heaven restaurant owners and staff set up before opening for the wave of customers they suspect their closing will bring. Photo by Barbi Barbee

Veggie Heaven restaurant owners and staff set up before opening for the wave of customers they suspect their closing will bring. Photo by Barbi Barbee

Austin is about to lose one of its foodie treasures.

Since 1998, the Asian cuisine, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant Veggie Heaven opened its doors across The Drag from the University of Texas at Austin. After 16 years of providing quality and affordable food to Austinites, out-of-towners, and devoted foodies, Veggie Heaven will officially close next Monday, Dec. 22.

Article by ChinLin Pan

Mrs. Chen and her daughter Stacy Chen run Veggie Heaven, a family-owned for the past 16 years. Photo by Barbi Barbee

Mrs. Chen and her daughter Stacy Chen run Veggie Heaven, a family-owned for the past 16 years. Photo by Barbi Barbee

Stacy Chen, the manager of Veggie Heaven, says it is time for her parents, the owners, to retire from running the beloved restaurant, which takes up a lot of time.

“We are closing, because we are going to retire. The restaurant work is very time-consuming and we have to be in the restaurant all the time. So we thought it was time for us to retire,” Chen says.

For personal reasons, the family designed the restaurant to serve vegan and vegetarian food.

“Our family has a history of high blood pressure, [so] we seldom eat meat. We are mostly on a vegetarian diet and that’s why we geared [the restaurant] toward vegan and vegetarian,” Chen says.

Frequent customers, such as UT graduates Jin Kwon and Samuel Frost (also a vegetarian), were sad to hear about the restaurant closing.

“It was popular and seemed to be doing very well. So my first reaction was to ask why it is closing,” Frost says.

Veggie Heaven specializes in vegan-vegetarian cuisine. Their food has won local awards including The Chronicle's "Best Reason to Go Vegan" award in 2003. Photo by Barbi Barbee

Veggie Heaven specializes in vegan-vegetarian cuisine. Their food has won local awards including The Chronicle’s “Best Reason to Go Vegan” award in 2003. Photo by Barbi Barbee

Veggie Heaven was Frost’s go-to restaurant. All the times he went to Veggie Heaven, he was always satisfied with the food.

“For me, [it] was a consistently good place that I felt comfortable trying something new with the knowledge that everything there was vegetarian-friendly,” Frost says.

Kwon, who had been going to Veggie Heaven since she was a freshman in her undergrad years, explains what she likes about Veggie Heaven.

“[I liked] the availability of cheap vegan/vegetarian food for the students that lived on campus. It made my veggie years way easier. [I had been going there] about seven years now,” Kwon says.

Although Veggie Heaven will become one less Asian restaurant in Austin, Kwon believes it is also going to become one less Asian restaurant close to UT and there should be more of them.

“[While] there are a lot of Asian restaurants around in Austin, I think it would be nice to have more of them near campus. Especially cheap and good ones!” Kwon says.

Veggie Heaven has been located on Guadalupe Street, next to the University of Texas at Austin, since 1998. Photo by Barbi Barbee

Veggie Heaven has been located on Guadalupe Street, next to the University of Texas at Austin, since 1998. Photo by Barbi Barbee

In less than a week, Austinites will have one last chance to eat at Veggie Heaven.

For loyal customer Frost, it means losing his go-to restaurant and delicious food.

“I would often go with my family and close friends for special occasions. I will definitely miss having [that], as well as Veggie Heaven’s tasty veggie-friendly [and] filling food,” Frost says.

So what are you waiting for? Whether or not you are on alternative diets, get your meal at Veggie Heaven before it closes. You won’t regret a penny.

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