Oakland, California-based vegan restaurant Hella Vegan Eats is seeking funding to relocate after being asked to close up their pop-up restaurant.
The trans-owned and LGBTQ-friendly restaurant serves vegan comfort food like tacos, “chicken” and waffles, seitan bacon, burritos, donuts and burgers.
Over the years, Hella Vegan Eats has become a crowd favorite, achieving a top-rated restaurant ranking for the Oakland area on the meat-free food directory Happy Cow.
Despite that, Michael Sarcona, the owner of Classic Cars West, the vintage car dealership where the restaurant operates, asked the restaurant owners, Tiff Esquivel and Silvi Peligras, to pack up and move out due to “many irreconcilable differences.”
Sarcona wants to have control of the food in his establishment and has hired a chef to cook vegan food starting on March 1st, after three years of Hella Vegan Eats operating as a pop-up in the business.
This is the latest in a series of unfortunate events that have happened over the last couple of years for the business partners, which include getting hit by a car, ending their marriage and losing a best friend in the 2016 Oakland warehouse fire.
Peligras and Esquivel will move out on February 28, and the two are now faced with looking for a new space to operate while finding a way to keep their staff compensated until they can get up and running again.
This time Esquivel and Peligras plan to open a location of their own instead of a pop-up shop so that their business is no longer open at the whim of someone else.
While the restaurant receives positive reviews for their vegan dishes, they are also known as a place that is accepting of people from all walks of life.
“We’re trying to hold it down for people who walk and talk differently. We’re trying to be a safe place for the artists, the weirdos, the queers, the trans, the people of color, the people who know what it is to work and struggle, Peligras said to SF Eater.
We’re trying to embody what we came to love about Oakland and what Oakland still is,” she added.
They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help raise the funds needed to relocate and pay their staff in the meantime. The goal is $10,000 and the business partners have raised $7,850 within one day of launching it.
To support the Hella Vegan Eats, you can click here to visit the campaign.