A budding restaurateur has turned a busy table at the Clintonville Farmers'Market into a bricks-and-mortar dining spot. Portia's Cafe, which specializes in vegan, gluten-free and raw foods, is slated to open on Friday at 4428 Indianola Ave.

A budding restaurateur has turned a busy table at the Clintonville Farmers’Market into a bricks-and-mortar dining spot.

Portia’s Cafe, which specializes in vegan, gluten-free and raw foods, is slated to open on Friday at 4428 Indianola Ave.

It’s the latest project of Portia Yiamouyiannis, former owner of Beechwold Natural Foods. For the past three years, she’s been selling gluten-free and vegan food at the Clintonville Farmers’ Market. More recently, she has offered grab-and-go meals at the Clintonville Community Market.

Now she’s putting down roots. It’s the realization of a lifelong dream, she said. “When I became vegetarian 25 years ago, there just wasn’t much good food out there.”

She experimented with recipes through the years and, after positive feedback from market customers, decided it was time to open her own restaurant.

“I decided to get back into food, because I wanted to make healthy food with love and good energy behind it,” Yiamouyiannis said. “ Sometimes, if you are on a special diet like gluten-free, it can be hard to get good food. I love getting them excited about food.”

The menu includes “dippers” such as house-made hummus with house-ground sesame seeds, sea salt and olive oil; black bean dip with cumin, cayenne and fresh guacamole; greens and artichoke dip with spinach, collard greens, artichokes and capers in a cashew-miso lemon sauce; and sunny walnut pate made with sunflower seeds, walnuts, Bubbies pickles, celery, lemon, olive oil and herbs. Each costs $5 and is served with rice crackers, tortilla chips or veggies.

A falafel is made with almonds, fresh parsley and cilantro; and a “spanako” rice wrap comprises spinach, collard greens, artichoke hearts, capers and bruised onion mixed with a cashew-miso lemon sauce, all wrapped in rice paper.

The soup selection includes coconut curry with black beans, rice and veggies; a fat-free red-lentil soup; and raw broccoli soup with broccoli and avocado mixed into a creamy base and then seasoned with herbs and spices. Salads on the menu include the “Garden of Eden” of mixed greens, shredded carrots, red cabbage, sliced onion, sunflower seeds, raisins, clover sprouts and in-season vegetables; and the “notuna” salad, which is a savory nut, seed and vegetable pate served on a bed of greens.

Portia’s also serves a selection of wraps and south-of-the-border-inspired dishes. One of the wraps is a nut-and-seed patty flavored with sun-dried tomato, onion and spices, topped with Bubbies raw pickle, tomato, onion and stone-ground mustard, served in a lettuce wrap. Quesadillas are made with Daiya dairy-free cheese; and a seven-layer sombrero dip for two is made with black bean dip, guacamole, salsa, tomato, black beans, tofu sour cream and black olives. Prices for most items range from $3 to $8.

And then there are the desserts, such as the strawberry-blueberry-mango dairy-free “cheezcake” with crust of crushed nuts and dates, topped with fruits, nuts, and coconut butter, lemon, agave and vanilla. The chocolate mousse is made with avocados and dates, local maple syrup, raw cacao and vanilla.

Portia’s also serves smoothies, organic free-trade coffee and fresh-squeezed juices, as well as quick grab-and-go food for folks who don’t want to eat in. “Everything is fresh but also superquick,” she said, and “affordable for everyone while allowing me to take care of employees with fair wages.”

The food is made primarily with organic or locally grown and non-genetically-modified produce; is gluten-free, except for the sprouted multigrain bread and wheat grass; and vegan, except for the honey served with the tea. The restaurant is equipped with a top-of-the-line water filter, which removes contaminants and particulates from all water used in the restaurant.

“I wanted to make a restaurant that has good, hearty food so even meat-eaters will enjoy it,” Yiamouyiannis said. “I have realized that vegetarians aren’t the only ones to cater to.”

The space features dark wood floors, a handful of booths and tables in black and chocolate brown, and sage green and golden yellow on the walls. Most of the items, from the kitchen equipment to the seating, is secondhand, culled from restaurant auctions and places as far afield as a defunct Max & Erma’s to a Buffalo Wild Wings.

“It came from all over. I like the idea that it’s a little funky,” Yiamouyiannis said.

For more information on opening day and the restaurant’s hours, go to www.portiascafe.com.

Off the menu

• A new Olive Garden has opened at 5450 Renner Rd. in Hilliard, employing 150 and seating 246.

• Kittie’s Cakes has opened a bakery at 495 S. 3rd St. in German Village.

• Local Dairy Queen restaurants have launched a new “$5 Buck Lunch” menu, which includes choice of a quarter-pound burger, three-piece chicken strips or a chili cheese dog served with fries, a drink and a sundae. It’s available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Denise Trowbridge, Dispatch restaurant columnist, can be reached at onrestaurants@dispatch.com.