Roxy’s Grilled Cheese Owner Opening Vegan Restaurant in Allston

Chef Becca Arnold and James DiSabatino are taking over the former Root space this fall with Whole Heart Provisions.

james roxy

James DiSabatino and Becca Arnold of Whole Heart Provisions.

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese owner James DiSabatino and chef Becca Arnold (Alden & Harlow, Sarma) have teamed up to take over the former Root space in Allston for a new fast casual restaurant called Whole Heart Provisions. Set to open in mid-September, the new “veggie-centric” concept is focused on salads and a build-your-own bowl model where diners choose from a base of grains/fiber (like black rice pilaf and mixed greens), vegetables (such as broccoli and Japanese eggplant), crunchy toppings (crispy edamame crumbs), and “style” (i.e. Szechuan tahini or cilantro, pineapple, and black bean).

Arnold, who spent time in high profiles kitchen like Sarma and Danny Bowien’s Mission Chinese in New York, says that her prior experience will lend itself well to the new 19-space spot. “All I can say is that my time at places like Alden & Harlow is going to translate to [a menu with] big flavors, things you’ve never seen before in a fast casual environment.”

Although Whole Heart Provisions will feature a menu sans meat, DiSabatino is reluctant to use the word “vegan,” long a taboo among the foodie elite. “It’s going to be a very veggie-centric fast casual restaurant, but the menu is going to be very accessible to everybody,” says DiSabatino. “We’re not going to be using any animal products whatsoever in any of the food, but I’m very hesitant to use the term ‘vegan’ because I think that tends to typecast places, especially here in Boston. I just think we found a way to put a really great menu together that’s healthy and boldly flavored, without having to use meat.”

Like Roxy’s, Whole Heart Provisions will have a large catering focus in addition to its everyday sit-in and takeout services. DiSabatino also says he’s applied for a license to pour beer and wine on the premises.

487 Cambridge St., Allston;