Café Gratitude

Café Gratitude Kansas City

The Kansas City food scene got even better last week with the opening of the all-vegan, all-organic Café Gratitude!  The chain been around since 2004 in California, and we’re very lucky they’ve branched out to Kansas City.  We headed down to the Crossroads Art District Friday night for the monthly First Fridays event to take in the art and music and, of course, the tastes of Café Gratitude.

Café Gratitude is tucked away on Southwest Boulevard near Broadway.  If you didn’t know it was there, you could easily miss it; not that it seems to be an issue–the place was packed!  Inside, the restaurant is filled with exposed brick, colorful murals and lots of messages of self-affirmation, generosity and positivity.  Just check out their mission statement:

Café Gratitude is our expression of a world of plenty.  Our food and people are a celebration of our aliveness.  We select the finest organic ingredients to honor the earth and ourselves, as we are one and the same.  We support local farmers, sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly products.  Our food is prepared with love.  We invite you to step inside and enjoy being someone who chooses loving your life, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful every day, and experiencing being provided for.  Have fun and enjoy being nourished.

If you take a gander at their moderately-priced menu, you will also see that they don’t offer a mere Ceasar salad, Pad Thai or macrobiotic bowl.  Instead, you’ll find an “I am Dazzling,” an “I am Terrific” and an “I am Whole.”  It might get a few eye rolls here and there, but I think it all makes for a fun and inviting environment.

Before I get to our meal, there’s one more thing about the menu I want to share:  the I am Grateful.  How cool is this!?

I am Grateful - Grain Bowl from Café Gratitude

Erik had the I am Extraordinary, a BLT made with a cashew aioli and crispy chipotle-maple coconut bacon and served on a sprouted Ezekiel bun.  The coconut bacon offered up a unique flavor and spin on the BLT that he loved.  And then there was the side salad–he couldn’t stop raving about how awesome the salad was!  He’s a huge fan of ginger ale, so we tried their house ginger ale aka I am Effervescent, too.  The fresh ginger was strong, but I really liked it…maybe even more than he did!  The small was more than enough for us to split and still have some leftover at the end of the meal.

I am Extraordinary - Coconut-BLT - Café Gratitude

If forced to whittle down my list of favorite meals to just one, there’s a very good chance that tamales would be the last one standing.  So I immediately honed in on the I am Trusting, a zucchini and mushroom tamale meal.  While firmer than the ones I make at home, with the melt-in-your-mouth dough and a toothy bite, the tamale could only have been better had they given me two.  The Mexican slaw salad was rather lackluster, but I really enjoyed the gigantic helping of flavorsome black beans.  The add-on of smoky cashew cheese was excellent atop the tamale and mixed in with the beans as well.  Just a word of caution, the spicy salsa verde that comes with the meal is nose-running hot (which I loved), so if that’s not up your alley, you may want to see if they can sub it for a milder sauce.

I am Trusting - Zucchini and Mushroom Tamale - Café Gratitude

The best part of the meal was reserved for last:  a raw strawberry chocolate shortcake.  I’m sure it has a cute name, too, but we didn’t see a printed dessert menu.  This was the first “real” raw dessert for both of us and we were blown away.  Every last thing about it was absolutely fabulous!  And you can bet that I will be working to replicate it at home.

The food was mouthwatering and the staff was beyond friendly–we had a great experience.  I love seeing places like this thriving in our city, and I’m excited to introduce it to friends.  One last thing I like about places like this?  They naturally foster community.  We had a nice conversation with our neighbors, who introduced me to the KC Raw Foods Union—I’m looking forward to getting to know others in the group and learning more about raw cuisine (are any of you members?).

In the spirit of Café Gratitude, I have to ask:  What are you grateful for?

Comments

  1. says

    I am going for the first time tonight and I cannot wait. I have already poured over the menu and I know I’ll have such a hard time deciding. It’s such an awesome concept for a restaurant. So glad you enjoyed it!!

    • says

      Doesn’t everything look amazing? I didn’t mention this above, but for the first month, they are only serving select items from their full menu (still plenty to choose from), with the selections changing daily. After that, the full menu will be available every day. Enjoy dinner tonight–I think you’ll love it! :)

  2. Randy says

    My wife, daughter and I went for lunch on Sunday. We all really enjoyed the experience and the food was awesome. I had the I Am Magical, which is their version of a veggie burger and it came with a fantastic side salad. For dessert we all shared the strawberry shortcake and it was definitely the highlight of the meal. But I loved the atmosphere and the positive vibe. And I could certainly imagine this place in San Francisco (that’s a good thing). One thing I love is that the three vegan cafes in KC, Eden Alley, Füd and now Cafe Gratitude, are all so distinctly different from each other but wonderful in their own particular way.

    • says

      The atmosphere is so refreshing! We are very fortunate to have Eden Alley, Füd and Café Gratitude (of course we can’t forget Mud Pie!). And you’re right, they’ve all carved out their own unique niche and are all fantastic in their own way. It’s so nice having so many options :)

      • Randy says

        Oh, I certainly didn’t mean to leave out Mud Pie. Last time I was there I had a blueberry scone that was to die for! But I don’t think of it so much as a restaurant as much as a really cool place to hang out with friends over coffee and treats.

  3. Molly Drake says

    Everything looks so good! I’d have a hard time deciding what to get. You are lucky to have a place like that nearby. We don’t have any close to us, but I’m grateful that my husband likes to cook yummy vegan meals for us!

    • says

      Everything was so delicious! I’m hoping a veg restaurant pops up near you soon–it’s such a nice treat to go somewhere and be able to choose anything. In the meantime, at least you have someone to prepare wonderful vegan meals for you :)

  4. says

    Wow, you are brave for heading there on First Friday! I still haven’t felt well enough to go for a meal myself :( but hopefully soon.

    FIRST raw dessert?! Bobbie! That’s crazy! Get thee to the desserts section of Practically Raw ASAP… ;) You can always make the Fudge Brownies without the Caramel sauce, then top them with the Strawberry Cheesecake Gelato…might come out similar to the pie you had here.

    I didn’t know you WEREN’T in the KC Raw Food Union FB group – want me to add you?

    • says

      We were going to FF anyway, so we figured we might as well brave it since we were in the neighborhood. I was worried that it would be super crazy, but we got there early enough that we only had about a 15 minute wait–not bad at all. I’m hoping you’re well enough to go soon (and hoping you’re better soon, just in general!).

      First “real” raw dessert (you know, besides fruit, banana soft serve and other super simple things like that)–yes, I’m afraid so. It’s an area that is new to me and I’m really interested in exploring it. I just happened to be presented with a copy of your cookbook for my birthday(!), and I have several recipes picked out for our meals next week–brownies and gelato will have to be added to the menu, too :)

      I was added to the FB group earlier this week, but thanks for offering. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend one of the potlucks this summer!

  5. says

    That’s so cool that Cafe Gratitude is in the Crossroads Arts District. We spent some time there in February, and it’s such a fun area! There are loads of cute shops, galleries, and a clothing store that David loved. Having Cafe Gratitude there as well is just perfect! Could Kansas City get luckier?

    I didn’t know about “I am Grateful” being donation-only to those in need. What a great idea. It’s certainly a healthy and sustaining bowl!

    I’ve been to Cafe Gratitude in LA and in San Francisco, and I can’t wait to try it out again the next time I’m in KC! That strawberry shortcake is calling my name!

    • says

      We’re definitely very lucky in KC :) I hadn’t heard about the I am Grateful either until I saw it on the menu. It was the first thing that jumped out at me, and I thought it was a great idea, too…and it goes along so well with their mission. Hope you get to make it back to KC soon–you’ll love the strawberry shortcake!

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