Angelhearts Diner, a vegan comfort food restaurant, will be moving into the former Napoli Pizza location at Gateway Plaza. Napoli announced several months ago that it was closing its doors.
Angelhearts owner Kim Engelheart has been musing on the idea of starting the diner for years. In 2010, though, she moved away, forcing her to pause the idea. But in 2017, she came back to Ithaca and began pursuing it once again.
Engelheart chose the former Napoli Pizza location because she wanted Angelhearts to be near downtown with a centrally-based location, thus making it easier for people to walk or bike to it. Now, Engelheart is working to make Angelhearts a welcoming place.
“It will look totally different on the inside," she said. "Everything has been taken out and it will be all new equipment, all new paint job. It’s going to have more of a diner feel with booths as well as tables.”
Serving comfort food matches Engelheart's motif of a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. In choosing a name for the restaurant, she incorporated her last name and the idea of people having the heart of an angel for putting animals first and choosing to eat plant-based foods. Much of the menu will consist of dishes Engelheart has created for her customers.
“One of our specialties is the beet burger, which is house-made,” Engelheart said. “It’s a beat/quinoa blend and we smoke our own coconut bacon. We make our own coconut bacon in-house. We’re also going to be doing breakfast as far as the tofu scramble burritos, pancakes, waffles, house cut fries, and macaroni and cheese. Your good comfort food but made from scratch.”
Another specialty item on the menu is called "The Philly," which goes back to Engelheart’s roots, being born in Philadelphia and growing up in Southern New Jersey. The Philly is a house-made seitan, high-protein vegetarian food made of cooked wheat gluten, steak mix with peppers/onions and a cashew cheese sauce on a sub roll.
In addition to this, they will also be serving coffee drinks, milkshakes, and specialty crafted desserts. Providing the remodeling goes according to Engelheart’s plan. Angelhearts will have a soft opening sometime during the first week of August.