Vegans might need forks, but not pitchforks, to enjoy a new Clintonville deli set to open later this year.
Kevin and Amber Ridenbaugh, owners of Seitan’s Realm, a vegan food truck, plan to set up shop in the former A Common Table space at 3490 N. High St.
Kevin Ridenbaugh said he hopes the restaurant would be open by November.
The announcement was made on the Seitan’s Realm Facebook page.
“We’d been looking (for a brick-and-mortar location) for only a month or two,” Ridenbaugh said. “This location was ideal — and the previous business was a deli, which is what we want to do, only vegan. It was impossible to say no.”
The couple, both veterans of several kitchens in central Ohio, opened their food truck in spring 2019 with weekly hours at Virtue Salon, not far south on High Street from the planned deli.
It became popular quickly on the strength of its vegan meats — made from seitan, or wheat gluten, and given such names as “beaf” and “chikun” — made from Kevin Ridenbaugh’s original recipes.
Ridenbaugh said the plan is to remain focused on sandwiches while expanding offerings in soups, salads and desserts.
He said the space also would feature a deli counter from which customers may purchase “meat” to go.
“We’ve had a lot of requests from people to purchase meats by the pound,” Kevin Ridenbaugh said.
The space will allow for the couple to explore distribution; they recently began selling their chikun wings at BrewDog Franklinton and are interested in providing them to other restaurants, he said.
In addition to expanded operations, having a brick-and-mortar location would provide some certainty in the midst of a pandemic.
“We’re doing food a lot at Antiques on High and Land-Grant (Brewing Co.), bars where people are sitting outside now — but what happens in the winter?” Kevin Ridenbaugh asked. “Plus you can only stock so much in the truck, and there are a lot of times we sell out.”
Kevin Ridenbaugh said the intent for now is for Seitan’s Realm to offer online ordering with no dine-in service.
He said the couple have discussed whether to continue running the food truck, but for now, the focus would be on the storefront.
“My family lived in Clintonville for a long time and we’ve always loved the neighborhood,” he said. “We’re excited to be able to do this in Clintonville.”
Jayme Hitchcock, senior community manager with Yelp, said she is excited about the mission of Seitan’s Realm.
“As a vegetarian, the thought of a plant-based deli opening up is my dream come true, and I know it’s something the community is missing,” the Victorian Village resident said. “Clintonville is blessed to have them coming to the neighborhood, and I can’t wait to check out their brick-and-mortar location once it opens up.”