Balewa's Vegan Gourmet was set to open sometime in November but that date was pushed back by the usual delays related to inspections, etc.
The restaurant, near the Sears Crosstown building, opened on December 15th and I went to check it out last week.
At the entrance is the counter for ordering and a glass fridge with grab-and-go items like salads and sandwiches. To the right is a room with a large table for family-style eating and a smaller tables. To the left, another room with more seating at a long counter.
I had been planning to get Balewa's popular quinoa chili, but couldn't resist the signature Live Burger ($6.99). Everything on the burger is raw, save for the bun. It was topped with a nice tomato sauce and included an avocado spread as well.
I also order the Ra-Kreem broccoli soup ($3.99). This is a thick soup, very earthy with a bit of heat. Good for chilly days.
As the fare at Balewa's is unique, the service was not without its quirks but nothing that can't be ironed out in time.
Balewa's is open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.