Metro-East News

Clean Eatz coming to Edwardsville; Belleville gets a new diner

Looking for comfort food at the Cozy Diner

The Cozy Diner located at 3605 North Belt West in Belleville is ready serve you some comfort food. The restaurant is located in the former House of Chiu.
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The Cozy Diner located at 3605 North Belt West in Belleville is ready serve you some comfort food. The restaurant is located in the former House of Chiu.

More options for vegans and healthy eaters continue to pop-up in the metro-east.

A vegan bakery recently relocated in O’Fallon, you’ll find more vegetarian options at one of the most popular restaurants in downtown Belleville and in Shiloh the franchise Crazy Bowls and Wraps continues to draw a crowd.

There's Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market in Fairveiw Heights and now Edwardsville will soon have the national franchise Clean Eatz, a restaurant and meal plan company known for its health-conscious menu.

How does an order of buffalo cauliflower sound?

The restaurant tosses Cauliflower florets in buffalo sauce and serves it with a healthier version of ranch dressing.

You'll also find "good for you" nachos. A popular snack made with sweet potato "chips" topped with shredded beef, guacamole, salsa, peppers and onions. (Of course, you can skip the beef if you are vegan.)

Thai Chicken Taco from Clean Eatz. Provided

“I knew Edwardsville needed a healthier alternative,” Sara Sanderson said Wednesday.

The working mother and franchisee plans to open Clean Eatz at 316 S. Buchanan St. later this month. Sanderson will operate the restaurant with her sister in-law Cindy Sanderson.

Salads, smoothies, wraps and a long list of healthy options on the menu along with Palo fudge and energy bars, too.

There’s also a menu for kids. Teriyaki Chicken Bowls, Taco Nachos, Here Fishy Fishy, and BBQ Beef Flatbread are served in reheatable containers that can be taken on-the-go.

A look at the steak and egg burrito from Clean Eatz. The franchise will open a location in Edwardsville later this month. Provided

Don and Evonne Varady built the franchise from the ground up. They started with a restaurant called Lo-Cal Café in Edwardsville in 2011, then Clean Eatz was launched in North Carolina a few years later. In 2015, the restaurant became a franchise.

Edwardsville is the 50th franchise location.

After 30 years as a Chinese restaurant Belleville staple becomes a diner

The woks in the kitchen are gone, but you can still sit in a vintage red House of Chiu booth inside of a new Bellevillle restaurant.

Cozy Diner, located at 3605 N Belt W, Belleville, has moved into the space previously operated by Feng Ming Huang and her family.

In November, the Haungs closed their restaurant after nearly 30 years in Belleville. “(I)t has truly been a pleasure to serve each and everyone of you,” House of Chui wrote in a farewell statement to customers. “Whether you have grown up eating our food, or have recently found us, we will miss you.”

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Jesus Vargas Bravo and his wife Sandra Vargas Bravo want to impress the metro-east with their comfort food menu at the newly opened Cozy Diner at 3605 North Belt West in Belleville. Derik Holtmann

Three months after the Haungs served their final customers, the restaurant has new life again, thanks to Sandra Vargas Bravo and her husband, Jesus.

The couple wants to impress the metro-east with its comfort food menu. Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees options are on the menu. From a traditional breakfast, which includes two eggs, bacon or sausage and toast, to French Dip sandwiches and pork tenderloin, the couple wanted to give the community their version of comfort food.

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The Cozy Diner features a variety of comfort food and breakfast items including their namesake Cozy Diner breakfast that includes two eggs, bacon or sausage, and 3-piece cinnamon swirl French toast. Derik Holtmann

“To make good food, you have to put your heart in it,” Sandra Vargas Bravo said. “Everything is home-cooked here and homemade.”

Her husband, Jesus, has cooked in local kitchens for 10 years. The couple opened their first restaurant together in Smithton last year.

They decided to close their restaurant, The Gathering Place, to focus on their latest venture in Belleville. New signs for the restaurant are expected to go up soon.