The curse of 2016 strikes again! After eight years filled with vegan ravioli, seitan arrabbiata sausage pizza, and signature beet tartare, Portobello Vegan Trattoria will close at the end of December 2016. The ever-popular plant-based dining destination will be replaced by a new venture from the Sudra’s Sanjay Chandrasekaran and Sean Sigmon, the original chef of Harvest at the Bindery.
All is not lost for Portobello fans, however: chef/owner Dinae Horne says she's merely taking an extended sabbatical for family reasons, and will reopen in a new space with a new concept. “It may change quite a bit before execution,” Horne explains, “but basically I want to have a kitchen for low-income folks to make food with a chef on duty."
The new venture, dubbed Stone Soup, comes from Horne’s desire to contribute to the community in a “meaningful way.” “There’s a lot of fine dining vegan options now,” she reflects. “People have learned that vegan food can be fancy and delicious. Now, awkwardly, I think the challenge is making it more accessible.”
Meanwhile, the Portobello space on SE Division will be reborn as Heart Bar, a new vegan counter-service pub serving burgers, bowls, salads, small plates, and other “snacky foods,” as well as (you guessed it) a full bar. The menu will be a collaboration between Chandrasekaran (founder of the Sudra and Rabbits Café), Sigmon (who’s worked at the Sudra, Harvest at the Bindery, and Farm Spirit in the last year), and Dan Belthius of Rabbits Café. The space’s large commissary kitchen will also be used to prep ingredients for Chandrasekaran’s other eateries.
Aesthetically, Heart Bar likely won’t look very different than Portobello did: “We’re just going to change the sign, basically,” Chandresekaran says. Without the delays of a lengthy remodel, Chandresekaran hopes to open Heart Bar as soon as the beginning of February. In the meantime, if you want to order one last plate of Sweety Peps before Portobello closes, you better make that reservation now.
1125 SE Division