Kopita Opens on Gay Street Offering Downtown’s First Vegan Only Menu

Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

It might seem unlikely that downtown would have a vegan restaurant prior to having a vegetarian restaurant, but Kopita opens tomorrow with a completely vegan restaurant featuring numerous locally sourced ingredients from Hines Valley Farm, Crooked Road Farm and Sugar Tree. Chef Paul Sellas and Franchesca Sellas are partnering with recent Knoxville resident Avi Zenatti who immigrated with his wife from Israel in 2007, to bring his culinary vision to the city.

Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Offering modern vegan middle eastern street food, it draws from various middle eastern traditions and is commonly found on the street, made for eating while mobile. It’s vegan, it’s healthy and its delicious, as anyone familiar with Chef Paul would expect. I’m not vegetarian, let alone vegan and I loved everything I sampled, which included the falafel, roasted cauliflower and hummus masabacha.

Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Limonana, Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

It underscores the fact that the restaurant simply offers good food at a reasonable price. That it is vegan will be important to some, but shouldn’t be a deterrent to anyone who doesn’t commonly follow a vegan diet.

The pita is shipped in from New York, the vegetables are seasonal and local where possible. As you would expect, you’ll encounter lots of tahini and olive oil. The tahini is also imported and Avi noted in our previous interview, it’s critical to him that it be the highest quality available. Customers may purchase bottled soda or water, but free fresh mint lemonade is also available.

Falafel, Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Masabacha, Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Roasted Cauliflower, Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

The restaurant will offer a “uniform discount” of 50% to firefighters, police or military wearing their uniform. In addition to being friendly to uniforms, they are trying to be as earth-friendly as possible, so there are no to-go cups and other to-go containers are either compostable or recyclable.

Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Finishing touches, such as signage are still being put in place, but the restaurant opened quietly last week to work out processes and make sure they were ready to announce. They are closed on Mondays, but will open with regular hours tomorrow, operating from 11:30 AM to 9:00 PM Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM on Friday and Saturday and 11:30 AM to 7:00 PM on Sunday.

Look for a chance to drop in and try some of downtown’s latest, increasingly diverse, food offerings. You’ll also find them at their website.

Comments

  1. Absolutely thrilling!

  2. Bob Grimac says

    Can’t wait to try a meal at Kopita! Hopefully the 200-plus folks on our Vegetarian Society of East Tennessee email list will also flock to this site and return often. Welcome and thank you, Kopita!

  3. Wow!

  4. WOWZAH!!! WONDERFUL!!! I can’t wait to check it out!!!

  5. peg hambright says

    yay!!!!!

  6. I am THRILLED! This is the most exciting thing to happen in the Knoxville food scene yet. FINALLY, somebody got it that there are lots of people, vegan, vegetarian and omnivores alike, who want an animal-free meal! I hope this starts a trend. With all of our awesome chefs, at least one is giving focus to healthy, flavor-full, stress free food! Thank you Paul & Francesca! -Dr. Jane

  7. This is so exciting. My favorite food mixed with two of my favorite people, Francesca & Paul!!!!!! Can’t wait to go!

  8. Wallace stewart says

    I am not familiar with the food they are offering, but I will find something on their menuI like and become s regular customer to support them,, just because of how they honor those who risk their lives to protect us. What a wonderful example! Kopita, I welcome you with open arms and wish you much success!

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