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Saving Soul

Cleveland's vegan specialists prepare to sprout up in new digs.

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Tasty little Soul Vegetarian Central Carryout on Lee Road is closing, but never fear: The all-vegan, all-soul restaurant is relocating to bigger, brighter quarters on Coventry Road. The new venue will have a spacious carryout counter and a separate 60-seat dining room, but will serve the same large menu of sandwiches, salads, soups, and down-home sides (think cornbread, greens, and soy-based macaroni and cheese) that developed a devoted following at the Lee Road location. Soul vegetarianism is an international phenomenon, with practitioners in Israel, Africa, and throughout the United States. The concept comes from the African Edenic Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, a black Israel-based cultural organization, founded in the late 1960s, that urges strict adherence to a diet of all-natural vegan foods. This not only rules out meat, eggs, and dairy, but also such "unnatural" items as refined sugars, chemical additives, seedless grapes, and genetically altered vegetables. Expect Soul Vegetarian on Coventry (1791 Coventry Road, 216-932-0588) to be up and running by December 1. A second outpost, Soul Vegetarian at the Colonial Arcade, is scheduled for a January opening.

Flight delay . . .

As city officials stay busy mismanaging plans to expand Hopkins Airport, general manager Bob Hartman says staffers at his 100th Bomb Group Restaurant (20000 Brookpark Road, 216-267-1010) are torn between grounding and taking off. The restaurant, situated just beyond the airport's northern boundary, is in the path of the expansion project and was expected to relocate this winter. Hartman had been planning to close up shop in January and reopen in nearby digs by the following April. But the recent revelation that the city failed to secure a piece of property required to reroute Brookpark Road -- delaying the airport project by nearly a year -- has played havoc with his schedule. "We'll remain open as long as possible in this location," says a resigned Hartman, noting that the new building's construction depends on the rerouting of both Brookpark and Grayton roads. "At this point, I doubt we will be moving until late summer or early fall." When it finally relocates, the restaurant will gain five private dining rooms and more than 9,000 square feet of space. However, no changes are expected to the menu -- a collection of steaks, salads, and hearty "farmhouse favorites," like meatloaf and gravy, pot roast with chive dumplings, and beer-cheese soup -- or to the clever WWII-era, Normandy-farmhouse decor.

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