Portia Yiamouyiannis is expanding her vegan empire.
The owner of Portia’s Cafe at 4428 Indianola Ave. in Clintonville plans to open Portia’s Diner in the former Whole World Natural Restaurant & Bakery, 3269 N. High St. in Columbus.
While much remains in the development stage, the diner should be open by year’s end, Yiamouyiannis said.
Customers can expect traditional diner fare with a vegan twist: waffles, pancakes, French toast, breakfast burritos, scrambled tofu, hamburgers and hot dogs, plus raw dishes and desserts – all made without dairy, eggs or animal products, she said.
“It’s, of course, going to have my spin on it, so it’s going to be up to my standards,” Yiamouyiannis said.
Daily specials will be part of the experience.
“I’m really trying to not start so big but keep adding things” to the menu, she said.
Yiamouyiannis said former Whole World owner Dan Otanicar reached out to her when he decided to close the vegetarian restaurant in April 2017.
She said she purchased the kitchen equipment and other fixtures last year for an undisclosed price. The interior has been under renovation since then.
“There was a lot to do,” she said. “It looks completely different than before.”
“It’s a little bit bigger the way we configured it,” she said, adding it will seat 30 when it opens.
Meanwhile, Yiamouyiannis has doubled the space of her original cafe by expanding into an adjacent space to the south.
That space now is used for spillover seating at the restaurant, but the plan is to create a breakfast-and-lunch coffeehouse, offering coffee and espresso, baked goods and prepared food, including sandwiches and salads.
Yiamouyiannis said she hopes to have the coffeehouse up and running within a month or so.
Yiamouyiannis also owns Clintonville Natural Foods, a health-food store several storefronts south of the cafe and proposed coffee shop.
Jennie Scheinbach, owner and founder of Pattycake Bakery, also in Clintonville, said she is happy to hear vegan options are expanding in the neighborhood and is excited that Whole World’s replacement will continue its plant-based theme.
“We couldn’t be more pleased,” Scheinbach said.