HYDE PARK — Raw vegan deli B’Gabs Goodies will expand in September with a move up to 57th Street.
Owner Gabrielle Darvassy said she and her husband, Ron Brigel, were looking for a larger space when they stumbled onto the shuttered Caffe Florian at 1450 E. 57th St., where they first went public about being a couple.
“We’re opening up in the space where we were outed,” Darvassy said.
She said she was excited to move their dairy- and gluten-free restaurant at 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. into the space where she and her husband had one of their first dates over a deep-dish pizza.
Darvassy and Brigel opened B’Gabs Goodies in 2011, shortly after Caffe Florian closed in 2010, as a place for people who shared their own interest in a diet so heavy on fresh fruits and veggies that there is little else.
To be vegan, the restaurant uses no ingredients that come from animal products, but goes a step further by banning heating the ingredients above 115 degrees.
“If we have another negative-40-degree winter, you will probably see cooked beans,” Darvassy said with a look that suggested she had nearly uttered a sacrilege.
B’Gabs Goodies takes its focus on freshness to maniacal levels. No ingredients are pre-sliced, to prevent the vitality from veggies like a cucumber being lost by two hours exposed to the air.
The clientele for a “burger” made from a seed patty and a cucumber-parsley-apple juice certainly includes gourmands who wear socks with Birkenstock sandals.
Darvassy said the customer base also includes a large number of patients at the University of Chicago Medical Center who might not be on a restrictive diet out of choice.
“I really think the body recognizes things in the raw form,” Darvassy said.
B’Gabs Goodies does brisk business packaging specialty meals for patients at the hospital, and has a policy of altering any dish for a customer’s unique dietary restrictions.
Darvassy said she came to the raw vegan diet herself after an illness and said it has changed how she feels in her body.
“It almost impossible for me to eat this food and feel dense,” Darvassy said.
She said she now longer experiences the “food coma” of feeling sluggish and unfocused after eating a pizza or other rich foods.
Brigel also runs a side business out of the store selling herbs for customers interested in homeopathic medicine, which will also move up to the new location.
Darvassy said the new location will allow her and her husband to expand to do dinners more often and support their catering jobs.
She said they are currently finishing the deli with a goal of opening in late September.
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