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Englewood, Chatham

Chatham’s Soul Vegetarian To Reopen As Soul Veg City In March With Remodeled Building, Expanded Menu

Now called Soul Veg City, the popular vegan eatery is "going to be the best-looking, best-feeling place south of 12th Street,” one of the owners said.

The Pulled Soul sandwich, left, and Seitan steak and rice at Soul Vegetarian, which will become Soul Veg City in March.
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CHATHAM — Fans of the popular South Side eatery Soul Vegetarian can expect a new look, menu items and name — Soul Veg City — to commemorate its 40th anniversary in Chatham next month.

Owners Arel Ben Israel and Lori Seay moved their operation to The Quarry event center at 2423 E. 75th St. six months ago when they began renovations on their 203 E. 75th St. restaurant, where they’ve been since 1981.

Israel said he is excited for customers to see the changes. He envisions Soul Veg City as a one-stop shop providing everything from smoothies to vegan pizza.

“I keep telling people that it’s going to be the best-looking, best-feeling place south of 12th Street,” said Israel, who took over the family business in 2012. “We’re putting the best place together for our customers and our community.”

A rendering of the new Soul Veg City in Chatham.

Israel tapped into the community for the project, hiring general contractors, electricians and other workers of color. It was important to bring locals to the table so they could feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, Israel said. 

While renovating a space in a 112-year-old building wasn’t without its challenges, and having to temporarily move 10 minutes east felt like moving to the other side of the city, it was worth it, Israel said.

The Quarry owners have been ”extremely gracious” as Soul Veg City has prepared to relaunch, Israel said.

“We made a promise to our customers to be there, and that’s why we moved to The Quarry. We couldn’t be like, ‘Yeah, we’re closing for a little bit, good luck.’ They count on us,” Israel said.

Jerk Nachos at Soul Veg City

Customers can look forward to a “protected, secure environment” with an emphasis on cleanliness and sanitation, a necessity in the age of coronavirus, Israel said.

Favorites like kale greens and cornbread and mac ‘n cheese will be joined by vegan pizza, which will be available by the pie or by the slice daily. Israel is expanding the soup menu to offer different selections every day.

Customers can enjoy their meals in the dining area, or grab cold items from the to-go section, Israel said.

“We’re going to continue with our promise to provide quality food, a clean environment, and a safe space. A home away from home,” Israel said. “When you step into Soul Veg City, you’ll feel that sense of security and you’ll know that this team, this family, this business, has your best interests at heart.”

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