By David Brand
An iconic Flushing vegan restaurant plans to close at the end of the month, becoming the latest small business casualty of the neighborhood’s development boom.
Oneness Fountain Heart will close its doors on June 30 to make way for development on the block, staff and customers told the Eagle. The restaurant was founded by students of meditation guru Sri Chinmoy in June 1998.
It will reopen as Peace Garden near the United Nations in Manhattan, a manager said.
“Serene spot for vegetarian & vegan fare prepared by students of a meditation guru, plus smoothies,” reads the Google description of the light-blue, health food spot on 72nd Avenue.
“The space is so peaceful and calming, the staff are kind and very friendly. They give crayons for kids to color on the sheets, but I like to come here alone on a date with myself when I need some 'mommy time' lol,” Yelp user Maya D. wrote in March.
The closure has disappointed some Queens vegetarians.
“Vegetarians of Queens take note--our choices are shrinking,” wrote Yelp user Jennifer B. “They will open another restaurant in Manhattan. I will miss their sublime Magic Mushrooms, their savory Veggie Duck, delicious brunch with their Florentine Omelettes and many many other menu items. Most of all I will miss the peaceful and welcoming atmosphere I have enjoyed for over 20 years.
“Farewell Oneness Fountain Heart — your impending closing has broken our hearts!!” she added.
Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Choe also said he was “heartbroken” to hear of the restaurant's closing, though he did not know details about the planned development.
“My wife and I have been there several times and it’s one of the few vegan restaurants in Flushing,” he said. “The food is very good and the service was always good.”
Choe recently accompanied the Eagle on a tour of Flushing small businesses that have closed in recent months. The shuttered storefronts and “for rent” signs highlight an affordability crisis that demands a concerted response from the city, he said.
“I want to issue a direct challenge to City Hall: instead of putting billion dollar subsidy deals together for big corporations or even city capital to expand the 7 train to the west side of Manhattan, the city should take a percentage of that money to fund small businesses,” he said.