Vegan Eatery Premieres in Lynchburg
Vicky Kuharski, Staff Writer~
Urbavore opened its doors to patrons in December 2017. This restaurant offers vegan-only options and is the first of its kind in Lynchburg.
The menu offers a wide variety of options for patrons for a healthier food option.
Many people familiar with the Cheesy Rider food truck were disappointed to hear of its closing late last year. The food truck was a staple of Food Truck Thursdays, which is hosted by Lynchburg Parks and Rec. The Cheesy Rider offered gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade soup, including vegan and vegetarian options.
Elizabeth Russel and her husband Matthew ran Cheesy Rider and are now the co-owners of Urbavore. Russel said, “Transitioning from cheesy rider to a restaurant was always part of the business plan, so when it came time to grow, we were ready.”
Many Lynchburg locals are excited about the prospect of a vegan restaurant joining the growth of Downtown. David Rose, a body piercer at Body Element in Lynchburg, is trying to wean himself from eating meat and is excited to return to Urbavore “over and over.”
The prospect is enticing even for those that do eat meat. Carl Vendetti, a local EMT, explained that “It’s nice to stay away from greasy meat every now and then.”
Urbavore is not only unique in that they are the only restaurant to cater to vegans and vegetarians, but also in the way they select the ingredients that come into their restaurant. Since opening, Urbavore has been receiving most of their ingredients from a produce supplier in Charlottesville. With spring approaching the restaurant has a better idea of what specific quantities they will need and they plan to reach out to more local farms.
“Buying local is important to us because supporting your local economy benefits everyone. Also local food is always fresher because it hasn’t had to travel as far to get from the farm to you,” said Russel.
Urbavore currently already gets some of their vegetables from both Lynchburg Grows and Soulshine.
Lynchburg Grows is a nonprofit organization that boasts a seven-acre urban farm. They not only provide the community with access to freshly grown fruits and vegetables, but they also provide vocational training to low income families. Soulshine is the lovechild of Dustin and Rachel Formon, a couple that has created their own urban farm that has been steadily growing.
Russel is committed to finding local products because, “It promotes plant diversity, it fosters community and preserves the land.”
Urbavore is located at 1103 Church Street and is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closing early on Sundays at 4 p.m.