I recently had the pleasure of meeting Sara Banks, who along with Lawrence Playford-Beaudet, is taking on the task of feeding Ottawa’s vegan population with style, accommodation and artistry at The Granola Girl Cafe Project, a fund-raising initiative for the eventual establishment of a restaurant. Although Ottawa has a handful of vegan-friendly restaurants , it has had a definite lack of 100% vegan eateries, aside from The Garden Spot located on campus at Carleton U, until now, that is! The newly established Granola Girl Cafe Project, located on 4 – 226 Gladstone Ave just off of Elgin St, offers a delightful and very reasonably priced 100% vegan menu of beautifully crafted granolas, lunch items, desserts and drinks.
The Granola Girl Cafe Project has provided local vegans with the opportunity and convenience to indulge themselves on sinfully delicious homemade desserts, candy bars, vegan cheeses and many other items not available elsewhere. Granola Girl Sara has had a great deal of experience creating vegan culinary concoctions in a wide variety of settings, beginning with her time preparing food for an Oberlin College vegetarian and vegan-food collective in 2004 where she learned to prepare vegan meals in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Since then, she has honed the art of preparing beautiful and exciting vegan dishes appealing to both the taste buds and one’s aesthetics. Sara had been providing the local vegan community with a custom-made granola service as well as monthly dinner parties which became implausible due to her growing clientele and format of the events. Upon meeting her fellow granola girl at a soy milk workshop which Lawrence was teaching, the Granola Girl Cafe Project was born. The project has allowed the granola girls to begin raising money for their plan to fill downtown Ottawa’ void of vegan restaurants and offer their delightful fare to the vegan community at unreasonably reasonable prices.
The menu at the Granola Girl Cafe Project offers a diverse choice of brunch, lunch, and dessert type foods along with drinks. Unlike many restaurants in the area, the granola girls are very willing to accommodate their customers’ needs and dietary restrictions; if contacted ahead of time they will do their best to meet your needs! Sara has had past experience catering for clients with gluten and soy intolerances. Although accommodation may be difficult for those of us with severe nut allergies due the complications associated with nut traces, the granola girls are willing to try and meet those needs and are hoping to move towards a more allergy-safe environment as their business grows. The brunch items include Sara’s fantastic granolas, such as her famous PB&J granola, in combination with their in-house almond milk or soy yogurt. (Granolas may also be ordered in bulk.) Although the lunch items vary from week to week, they generally include a vegan grilled cheese featuring one of Sara’s homemade gourmet vegan cheeses. Sara’s desserts are guaranteed to satisfy sweet tooth; her pies, “cheese” cakes and candy bars fill the void left by the lack of pre-made vegan sweets. Her vegan candy bars, like the “butterfynger” and “twixx” are a popular stable of the Granola Girl Cafe Project. Weekly menus can be seen on the Granola Girl Cafe Project website. The word on the street is that the Chilled Yogurt Cucumber Soup will be FREAKING AWESOME.
The Granola Girl Cafe Project is open Sunday’s and Monday’s from 11 am to 3 pm. It will not be open on May 25th and 26th, so tomorrow and Monday will be your last chance to check it until Father’s day. Maureen and I are planning to go on Monday for Part II of the Granola Girl Cafe Project restaurant review; hope to see you there :)!