Bayoh: ‘There is a significant demand for healthier food options in Newark’

Restaurateur/entrepreneur says Urban Vegan will meet untapped need

Adenah Bayoh is not one to be held back by popular beliefs — especially those that try to determine what food will sell where.

Bayoh, an American success story who has opened numerous restaurants and housing developments in Newark and northern New Jersey, made that very clear again last week, at the official ribbon cutting for Urban Vegan, her latest restaurant concept.

Urban Vegan, a fast-casual eatery at 915 Broad St. in Newark, offers vegan dishes made from locally sourced ingredients served fresh in a family-friendly environment.

The menu, which will be 100% vegan, includes organic biscuits made from scratch, an oat-based Philly cheese steak, a variety of burgers and numerous all-natural, no-sugar-added fruit shakes.

Bayoh is convinced it will do well in Newark.

“There’s a damaging and false perception that concepts like Urban Vegan cannot succeed in urban communities,” she said. “There has always been, and continues to be, significant demand for healthier food options in Newark. There is also a rapidly growing vegan food scene. Urban Vegan is about meeting that need.”

Bayoh gives credit to Emeka Onugha, the restaurant’s creative director and culinary designer, for created what Bayoh calls a truly unique and imaginative culinary experience.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka gives credit to Bayoh for her entrepreneurial drive and spirit.

“I am in awe of the hard work and dedication Adenah pours into our city,” he said. “She has been such an asset in Newark’s revival and ongoing recovery by continuing to invest in our economy and our people.”

The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the 84-unit mixed-income, mixed-use project Bayoh developed. It will be next to Cornbread Newark, a farm-to-table soul food restaurant Bayoh opened with co-founder Zadie B. Smith earlier this year, too much fanfare.

Baraka said the development is all part of Bayoh’s impact on the city.

“I am incredibly grateful for Adenah’s efforts to help elevate our city by creating job opportunities and access to healthy and affordable food options for our residents,” he said. “We rely on small business owners like her to power our city’s redevelopment and lead the way in ensuring that it is sustainable as much as it is equitable.”

Bayoh, who grew up in public housing in Newark and attended public schools, said Urban Vegan not only reflects her can-do attitude, but her ongoing commitment to the community.

“Urban Vegan is truly a labor of love for me,” she said. “I am so grateful to our entire team, who poured their hearts into this restaurant and share my passion for expanding the healthy food options that exist in Newark.

“I’m passionate about bringing a variety of high-quality meals and hospitality services to urban communities like Newark. While we only serve vegan dishes, I know everyone will love our food, thanks to our amazing culinary designer, Emeka Onugha.”

Last month, Bayoh was named to the Top 15 of the ROI Influencers: Food & Beverage 2021 list.