A new restaurant offering all vegan dishes will open in Astoria


Urban Vegan Roots is expected to open in the coming weeks (Photo by Michael Dorgan)

March 28, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

A new restaurant offering all-vegan dishes is set to open on 31st Street in Astoria.

Urban Vegan Roots will open in early May at the World Artisan Market, a repurposed warehouse located at 34-39 31st St. Urban Vegan Roots will be the last establishment to open in the building after Sotta La Luna, Sala and Eleven.

David Tianga, 46, who grew up in Jackson Heights, is opening the 2,000-square-foot restaurant with his wife, Taraoles, 37, who grew up in the Bronx. The couple now live in Manhattan.

The new restaurant, which will serve all vegan dishes, will be a sister restaurant to the couple’s only other restaurant called Urban Vegan Kitchen, which opened seven years ago in the West Village section of Manhattan.

The restaurant, David said, will feature his signature vegan-style dishes from the Manhattan establishment, including chickens and waffles, Korean barbecue wings, mac and cheese and an array of burgers.

Urban Vegan Roots will also serve a variety of pizzas, which are not available at their location in town.

David said he’s wanted to open a restaurant in Queens for some time since he’s from the borough.

“I miss Queens and love the borough, so it feels like coming home,” David said.

They expected to open the facility in February but, like many other new businesses, the process was delayed by bureaucratic formalities. Delays, he said, are part and parcel of the industry the couple are taking to their stride.

“What I learned in the restaurant business is that you have to be patient,” David said. “You don’t do it to be a millionaire, you do it because you love it and to have fun, that’s what we focus on.”

“There are very few things that can give you as much pleasure as opening a restaurant – it’s hard but once it’s up and running it’s a cool thing.”

spicy Buffalo seitan sandwich (L) and scrambled tofu plate (R) (Photos via Facebook)

The spicy buffalo seitan sandwich (L) and the scrambled tofu plate (R) (Photos via Facebook)

Urban Vegan Roots will have a spacious, minimalist layout with seating for around 30 people, David said. He also plans to install outdoor seating in the near future.

“We don’t want to clutter it with stuff, it will feel like an old-school art space that represents New York culture,” he said, adding that the color scheme would be in black and white with art deco patterns.

There will also be a stage that will host music like jazz and reggae, he said.

“We want to provide a space where people can eat and feel the spirit of food,” he said. “Veganism is a spiritual thing, it’s a way of life.”

David said he hopes the restaurant will attract vegan and non-vegan customers.

“Many non-vegans are reluctant [to eat vegan food] at first, but we have a lot of non-vegans eating in our town. We always say, “try it,” he said.

The key to vegan food, David said, is seasoning, and many dishes often mimic the taste of the meat equivalent.

For example, Chick and Waffles are made from fried southern seitan as the chicken base with sautéed garlic kale and maple mustard aioli added for flavor.

The restaurant will also offer a range of other items, including sandwiches, coconut shrimp, garlic broccoli, soups, waffles, tacos and salad bowls. Alcoholic drinks like cocktails, local beers, wine, whiskeys, gins and tequila will also be on the menu.

He said the menu had something for everyone.

“Queens is the borough of the world, so we want it to be a place for everyone, where everyone is welcome,” David said.

Hours of operation have yet to be finalized, but David expects the restaurant to be open 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. from Monday to Sunday.

Waffle and fruit (L) and “dope” burger (Photos via Facebook)

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