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Vegan Israeli Restaurant Aviv to Replace Heart Bar

Starting May 3, Gonzo’s Tal Caspi will serve up his signature falafel and shawarma fries in the former Portobello space on SE Division.

By Tuck Woodstock April 25, 2017

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Hummus is served at Aviv's April 18 pop-up. 

After only three months in business, Heart Bar is gone for good. Founded by the Sudra’s Sanjay Chandrasekaran and former Harvest at the Bindery chef Sean Sigmon, the plant-based burger spot replaced local favorite Portobello Vegan Trattoria in February, but struggled to find its footing after mixed reviews, confusion over its service model, and a general lack of cohesive identity.

Rather than continue to tweak a mishmashed menu of gravy fries, gourmet veggie burgers, sweet potato stew, and lemon thyme ice cream cake, Chandrasekaran is instead teaming up with Tal Caspi (Gonzo food truck) and Suzanne Prinsen (Little Bird, Biwa) to transform the space into an entirely different eatery. The new restaurant, dubbed Aviv, will focus on Caspi’s signature vegan Israeli cooking—think falafel bowls and soy curl shawarma fries smothered in hummus, tahini, and a trio of house-made sauces, plus bourekas (pastries) and pita baked in-house.  

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Tal Capsi plates shawarma fries at Aviv's April 18 pop-up. 

The decision to (re-)rebrand the former Portobello space was made after Caspi and Prinsen hosted a sold-out Aviv pop-up at Heart Bar last week. The dining room, located at 1125 SE Division, will reportedly be "refreshed and updated" before reopening. “We’re going for upscale fast-casual, with a bright, airy feel in the spirit of Tel Aviv,” explains Prinsen.

Aviv plans to offer service 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, with weekend brunch plans in the works. The new menu will debut on Wednesday, May 3, with a grand opening celebration on May 12. 

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