A restaurant that was beloved among vegans in the Dallas area is re-opening, sortof, after a four-year sabbatical. The beloved restaurant in question was Veggie Garden, a vegan place in Richardson, which closed in May 2014 when owners Jimmy Leung and Joy Vidheecharoen took a break from the business.
Now the duo are back with a new restaurant in a new location: Called Happy Panda, it will open in mid-April at 1116 W. Parker Rd. It's going into a space that was previously a Wings of Glory chicken restaurant.
Veggie Garden offered memorable dishes such as tofu fried sushi and potato curry soup. It was one of a handful of vegan Asian restaurants around DFW with a bountiful buffet; others include Loving Hut in Addison and D'Vegan. But Veggie Garden also drew a following by cultivating a sense of community.
Happy Panda will be a Cantonese restaurant and it will not be exclusively vegan; they'll have the typical dishes found at a quick-serve Chinese place, such as pork spare ribs, egg rolls, and sweet and sour chicken.
The menu includes noodles, fried rice, veggie dumplings, and delicacies such as a "twister roll" — ham wrapped in biscuit dough.
But there will be vegan dishes including salt and pepper potatoes stir-fried with red pepper, onion, green onion, and jalapeno; "ocean tofu," stir-fried with red pepper, onion, green onion, and lemongrass; and Szechuan tofu, with soy pork, carrots, and peas in a Szechuan spicy brown sauce.
And nearly everything on the menu will be available in a vegan version, says Joy, who calls the project "a labor of love over 12 months in the making."