Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cafe Gratitude opens today in the Crossroads

Cafe Gratitude opens today in the Crossroads.

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Cafe Gratitude opens in the Crossroads today.
  • The Purple Carrot
  • Cafe Gratitude opens in the Crossroads today.
For all those still waiting to be convinced that Kansas City is vegan-friendly, another very large door opens today when Cafe Gratitude - a licensed location of the San Francisco restaurant - begins serving lunch in the former Lulu's Thai Noodle House space at 333 Southwest Boulevard.

Natalie and Mike George have been working for the past several years to bring the California concept, which features a menu composed of organic, raw and vegan dishes, to Kansas City.

The chocolate macaroons at Cafe Gratitude.
  • Almost Vegan
  • The chocolate macaroons at Cafe Gratitude.
The original Cafe Gratitude opened in 2004 with the idea of feeding and teaching people about eating sustainably. The cafe hosts workshops and classes, and encourages community members to showcase their talents within the space - think of it as the restaurant equivalent of the Merc in Lawrence.

The menu is sprinkled with dishes meant to translate feelings into food - all of the items begin with "I Am," such as I Am Humble, Indian curried lentils over brown rice or quinoa with sauteed spinach, roasted potatoes and a drizzle of spicy mint chutney. The dishes are inventive, making use of nuts in place of dairy. You'll find almond hummus, cashew butter, cashew mozzarella and cashew nacho cheese (served on the nachos and corn tacos). Here's a look at the opening day menu. The restaurant has also applied for a beer and wine license and intends to serve organic wine and beer.

Cafe Gratitude has six cafes in California, although a San Francisco location will be closing later this month. Owners Terces and Matthew Engelhart have closed three locations in the past year after settling a lawsuit out of court over shared tips.

The Kansas City restaurant held a preopening party last Sunday (video is available here). Cafe Gratitude is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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