16 September 2022
The Edgy Vedge is Camana Bay's newest restaurant, offering a welcoming atmosphere, "killer cocktails" and comfort food that just happens to be vegan.
It all began with a loaf of bread and a paddle board session. Nearly two years later, The Edgy Vedge is the newest addition to Camana Bay’s culinary scene.
“I’ve always thought that something like this was needed,” said Sian Weinzweig who, along with friend and co-owner Christina Ravdas, began brainstorming ideas for a fresh take on a vegan restaurant back in 2020 after Ravdas baked a loaf of vegan banana bread.
“Her landlord tried it and [responded], ‘That’s the best banana bread I’ve ever had,’” Ravdas said. “It’s vegan,” she responded.
“We literally were [thinking], ‘That’s it. That’s the concept.’ It’s food so good you wouldn’t know it’s vegan.” A short time later, the pair firmed up the idea while spending some time on the water. “We went paddle boarding and [said], ‘Right, so should we open a vegan restaurant?’ The idea went from there and we’ve been working on it consistently.”
The concept is simple: good food, welcoming atmosphere and phenomenal service. Options don’t hurt, either. The Edgy Vedge is part dine-in restaurant, part cocktail lounge and part marketplace.
“We’re the first vegan restaurant that’s open at night, that’s going for a dinner crowd as well as a lunch crowd and that has a liquor license,” Weinzweig said. “We are a full-service restaurant. So it’s not a café. We're not a sort of short lunchtime stop. We are a full restaurant that is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every single day.”
The full bar offers beer and wine, and cocktails that will be mixed by Ravdas, who won the local 2022 World Class competition. The marketplace is another side of the enterprise that offers grab-and-go options from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“We know that take-out blew up during lockdown…. It’s a huge part of the industry now,” Ravdas said. “That was always kind of in our forefront as well. And what was really important to us was developing an online ordering system where you could order online and pay online, come in and pick up your food.”
Technology and a progressive stance toward service have helped shape the “laptop friendly” atmosphere that boasts outlets at every booth and wireless charging stations at the bar for phones.
“I think that someone dressed in Birkenstocks and a flowy dress should feel just as comfortable eating this food as a business person in an Armani suit with Gucci shoes," said Executive Chef Doug McNish, a globally recognised chef and author who created the menu. "I feel that that's very important to advance the style of cuisine.”
The cuisine is all about comfort with a dash of health. Think burgers, pizza and mac and cheese as a jumping off point.
“There’s something called umami. Umami is the sixth sense,” McNish said.
“It hits your tongue, serotonin is released in the brain and you just say, ‘Oh my God, this is good. I need more.’ And that's my job as a chef to do that. So if I'm making a goat cheese…the vegan version of the goat cheese still has to have the tang and the harmony that the animal version would have. Otherwise, it’s just pureed cashews.”
From an idea sparked by a loaf of bread to opening a restaurant in the heart of Camana Bay, the Edgy Vedge team is seeing their dream come to fruition.
“At the end of the day, we do this because we love to,” McNish said. “The passion is going to shine through on the plates and the drinks and the service and the atmosphere, the music, the smiles. I know it's going to be a really special place for many, many years to come.”
This article will also be featured in the September/October 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.