East Brookside eatery relocating to former Eden Alley Cafe space by the Plaza

Nearly a year after longtime vegetarian eatery Eden Alley Cafe abruptly closed in Unity Temple on the Plaza, a locally owned restaurant will open in its place.

Canihaveabite will relocate from Brookside East to Unity’s basement restaurant space, at 707 W. 47th St., later this year.

Owner Kathy Hale started making healthy menu items for her Pilates clients in 2012.

But that “hobby” quickly grew into a wholesale operation and her products were stocked at some area specialty grocery stores. She ran a Waldo shop for a year before moving to her current space in Brookside East, 633 E. 63rd St., in March 2017.

Her mission: “delicious, healthy, environmentally-friendly” meals made from local and organic ingredients with zero waste. She calls them “meals in a package,” freshly made items that can be eaten now, or taken home to eat or freeze for later.

She also has items for different diets — vegan, vegetarian, paleo, omnivore and gluten-free. They include a detox salad with organic seasonal dark leafy greens, hummus wraps, meatball sandwiches, cashew meatloaf, and vegan lasagna.

She also offers cleanse and detox items — from three days to 28-day challenges, and a beverage bar with such drinks as the RBG, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg (cinnamon tea, habanero, lemonade and lemon bitters).

Canihaveabite had been approached about franchising before Unity Temple on the Plaza contacted her about the Eden Alley Cafe space.

She will continue to operate at Brookside East before relocating to the Plaza space later this year.

“We’re very excited about being on the Plaza. It is designed for foot traffic,” Hale said. “Brookside East is really a springboard to take us to the next level. We have wonderful customers, and we plan to do some specials in September and maybe until we are done with the move.”

Unity Temple on the Plaza has been hosting pop-up restaurants in the space.

The owners of McGonigle’s Market had hoped to open a permanent operation, McGonigle’s Cafe, there but needed more space for their planned catering operation.

That’s when Unity turned to Canihaveabite.

“I was absolutely blown away when I first discovered Kathy’s place. Everyone was talking about it. I bought a lot of food from her website, and it was incredible,” said Duke Tufty, senior minister and CEO at Unity Temple on the Plaza. “So when we just weren’t able to provide the kind of space McGonigle’s needed, she was the first person we called.”

As for Canihaveabite’s current space in Brookside East, it will be available later this year.

“We will pick something that is complimentary to that walkable experience up and down 63rd Street — you have Plate, Brookside Poultry, BKS (Artisan Ales), Unbakery & Juicery, Flying Horse Taproom,” said Butch Rigby, developer of Brookside East.

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Joyce Smith has covered restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the brand Cityscape. She appreciates news tips.