Chickpea, a popular Vancouver food truck known for its vegetarian and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, will be opening a restaurant at 4298 Main Street this month.
Situated within walking distance of other veggie-friendly joints like MeeT on Main (4288 Main Street) and East is East (4433 Main Street), the 2,400-square-foot space will serve Chickpea’s full food-truck menu, plus a selection of newly introduced dishes, desserts, and a full beer and cocktail program.
New items include a vegetarian shawarma, which uses tempeh (a fermented soy product) in place of meat; an avocado-stuffed schnitzel crafted from smoked tofu that’s coated in gluten-free bread crumbs and a blend of Middle Eastern herbs and spices; and a specially prepared cauliflower that “melts like butter” when eaten, according to Chickpea co-owner and chef Itamar Shani.
“We serve it with two or three different kinds of sauces like lemon-garlic and homemade chili,” he tells the Straight by phone. “It tastes unbelievable.”
A “chickpea sharing experience” will also be offered, where parties have the option to share an all-you-can-eat amount of salad, pita, and hummus alongside each person’s main dishes for a set price. Desserts, meanwhile, will be provided by Zimt Chocolates, a local vegan chocolate producer, and Say Hello Sweets, a non-dairy ice cream truck.
These additions will be available alongside Chickpea’s original menu, which includes foods like falafel and sabich (a combination of fried eggplant, potatoes, and hard boiled eggs) served as part of a pita, hummus plate, salad, or platter.
All items on the menu will be vegetarian and may be modified to fit vegan and gluten-free diets. “We want to keep that balance of comfort food and health food,” says Shani.
Beer, wine, and kefir water—a fermented, probiotic beverage that Chickpea owners Shani and Rotem Tal brew themselves—will be available on tap. In addition, the bar will offer kefir- and jun-infused cocktails and fresh-squeezed carrot-ginger-beet juice by the glass or jug.
A selection of teas from the Whistler-based Namasthé Tea Co. will also be on hand. Shani hopes to eventually introduce coffee to the lineup, which Chickpea will serve in the morning. “We would love to open in the morning for coffee, then have lunch, dinner, and late-night snack hours,” he says.
Takeaway service will be available in what Shani describes as the “groovy” side of the 93-seat restaurant, which will be decorated with a large mural and accents that pay homage to Shani and Tal's native Tel Aviv. Eat-in service will take place in another section, which is inspired by more West Coast elements like wood and stone.
Shani and Tal are working to have the Chickpea restaurant open in time for Car Free Day on Main Street on June 18. Once the space opens, it will serve its regular menu from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., before switching over to a more casual late-night menu.