After spending the past 16 years cooking up some of the best and most affordable vegetarian food Austin has to offer, the owner of Veggie Heaven, Mrs. Chen, will be retiring and closing the local restaurant on December 22.

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The beloved restaurant is located at the south end of the Drag near UT campus, an area highly representative of Austin’s change and growth. Veggie Heaven is just one of many locally owned, small businesses that have shut their doors in recent years. The Drag is now dotted with more chains than ever and shadowed by high-rise apartments, which makes Veggie Heaven’s departure from the strip all the more heartbreaking – this restaurant is one of the few businesses left that still embodies that true Austin spirit.

But before shedding too many tears in our sriracha, let’s celebrate all of the things we’ve appreciated the most about Veggie Heaven.

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The restaurant will be missed for its various vegan-friendly offerings such as the curry bun – a soft and steamy vegetable-filled doughy ball that is not only incredible in flavor, but also tends to make one feel a bit like a character in a Miyazaki film. And the infamous Protein 2000, with its nuggets of savory gold, that will surely satisfy even the most carnivorous of humans. We’ll never forget Lucky Seven or Basil Tofu, with their sauces spiced and vegetables cooked just right. The list of delicious dishes is extensive, but not the only thing memorable about Veggie Heaven.

Mrs. Chen and her husband are revered for their generosity and passion. They are known for giving out food to the homeless regularly, and for their whole-hearted dedication to ending the persecution of Falun Dafa in China. More information regarding Falun Dafa can be found here or at Veggie Heaven’s website.

For those sad souls who have not yet had the pleasure of eating at Veggie Heaven, head over to the Drag immediately and try one of Austin’s most endeared eateries before it’s too late.

As for the rest of you, I’m sure you’ll agree – Austin will not be quite the same without Veggie Heaven. Thanks to the Chens and the rest of the Veggie Heaven staff for a wonderful 16 years, you’ll be missed!

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