vedge

On the Vedge restaurant co-owners Mike Donahue and Katie Hartman have recently opened their sumptuous eatery located on Main Street in Old Bisbee. The restaurant has been open since Dec. 23.

BISBEE – On the Vedge restaurant opened Dec. 23 and already it is a townie favorite, serving up non-GMO organic veggies, homemade breads, sauces and dressings in a tiny kitchen, even by Bisbee standards, by native Bisbeeite Mike Donahue and his new partner, Katie Hartman.

The duo has had to hustle to keep orders flowing.

“We could manage things better as far as the baking side of things goes,” Donahue said. “We’re running out of sandwiches a lot, just because we’re a craft kitchen and we’re making everything in house. I’m backing a little more, obviously.”

On the Vedge, right under the shadow of Castle Rock, serves Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine made by Hartman, who has a catering background. She brings knowledge of herbs and spices and her own pizazz, which adds unique flavors to the salads, sandwiches and wraps. A customer favorite is the quinona burger, made in house by Hartman, featuring roasted red/green peppers, pumpkin seeds, almonds and Donahue’s buns with a “really sweet vegan egg wash with agave nectar.”

Donahue and Hartman met at the Bisbee Farmers Market. She was selling vegan cookies and he sold vegan food.

“We didn’t think twice about it,” Donahue said. “We knew the building was available and we just did it on the fly. We couldn’t be more excited. We were both more than ready to do this.”

As a Bisbee native who has worked at various places around town in jobs from bartending to shuttling people around for the Bisbee Tour Company, he knew lots of people who not only gave him their verbal support but customer support as well. Some of his old skateboard buddies come around a few times a week to get the now very popular Indian Samosas, a curried potato pastry with cashew, coconut chutney.

Another favorite is a delectable little warming treat called chickpea shawarma – chickpeas rolled in a special recipe that includes a bit of hot chili pepper. Hartman serves it in a salad of the same name in a bowl of special salad greens and fruit with a delicious, warming cashew raita sauce and homemade vinaigrette.

“Just in the past month we’ve had definitely a 25 percent increase of people coming in,” Donahue said. “People are getting out a little more with the (warmer) weather. Just foot traffic in general has stepped up. With that we have twice the amount of clients.”

Donahue calls their offerings “comfort food” and wants everyone to know how good going vegan can be not just for health but for those hard-to-please taste buds.

Hartman is a whiz with herbs and spices and comes up with new creations she enjoys sharing with her clientele.

The menu will be adjusted seasonally as different fruits and vegetables ripen through the year.

“Hopefully for the spring we’re going to be doing lots of wraps, a bunch more bowls,” Donahue said. “We’re going to be featuring so many items, probably keep a couple of things on our current menu, but as far as new things, the menu is probably going to be completely different.”

Donahue and Hartman are planning to grow as many of their own herbs and veggies as they can and use local growers as much as possible. They are looking at getting fresh produce from farms in Sierra Vista and Benson. There is a Bisbee man who is now providing them with fresh mushrooms, as much as 20 pounds a week.

Thanks to COVID-19, there is no indoor seating. They want to be responsible business owners, respect the guidelines and protect their customers. People can pick up their orders at an outdoor window on the pleasant rock patio and eat on the few tables.

“We have enough room to seat outside and turn over,” Donahue said. “We’ve haven’t had people waiting for chairs. The flow has been amazing, I’ve worked every restaurant in town and nowhere have I been able to find that.”

Changes in the seasonal menu should have little effect on the customer base.

“I have people ask me just to order for them because they know at this point everything is good on our menu and they’re not worried about getting anything bad,” Donohue said. “I have two or three friends who say ‘just give me whatever, man, I’ll come pay for it.’ ”