Cincinnati Eatery Hopes to Bring Plant-Based Eating to Your Doorstep

ESSEN Chef Yasel Lopez

As compassionate and healthy eating continues to gain popularity, the plant-based market is booming. From shopping at stores to ordering at restaurants, more and more consumers are choosing nutritious and sustainable vegan meals at an affordable price.

In cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC and often beyond, it’s even easy to have a delicious plant-based meal delivered right to your door. And new eateries are opening all the time, bringing convenient vegan eating to more and more places.

Hoping to open fall of this year, plant-based eatery, ESSEN, will be the only of its kind in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio — a fully plant-based restaurant offering vegan meals for delivery or pick-up.

Founders Patricia Bittner and Lida Bilokur have teamed up with Chef Yasel Lopez to debut mouthwatering plant-based dishes such as a jerk sandwich, smokey ESSEN burger, and even a dairy-free panna cotta.

ESSEN (German for “eat”!) will be the only 100% vegan restaurant in downtown Cincinnati, and is women- and minority-owned and operated.

In an interview with the Cincinnati Business Courier, Bilokur stated the she started a plant-based diet five years ago. Her mother and ESSEN co-founder, Patricia Bittner, made the change because of the devastating effects industrial agriculture has on the environment. Chef Yasel Lopez sees the culinary pursuit as a creative challenge: “To be successful with limited ingredients you need to understand the chemistry of each component,” he is quoted on the restaurant’s IndieGoGo page, “…I joined ESSEN because I want to serve and feed my community by providing affordable, beautiful, flavorful food.”

The owners’ and chef’s vision for ESSEN is to cater to vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike. In fact, they don’t even want diners to notice that what they’re eating is plant-based–their main concern is with bringing healthy and affordable options to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of downtown Cincinnati.

ESSEN is currently raising support in the final steps to bring this dream to life. For more information and to contribute (and receive some cool swag in return!), check out their campaign here.

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Stuart McDonald is a Creative Writer at Compassion Over Killing (COK), a national non-profit animal protection organization based in Washington, DC. She is passionate about making an ethical lifestyle easy and accessible for all and collaborating across social movements to create a kinder world. She writes about everything vegan: from plant-based eating to activism to legislation. Read her work on and

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