An Interview with Om Cafe
By Renee Ratliff
Anyone who thinks vegan food consists of only granola and salad has never been to Om Café. Nestled in the heart of Ferndale, the restaurant was started in 1985 with the idea and hopes of bringing healthy tasting food to the community, healing from the inside out. Om Café offers many vegan menu items, including beloved standards like the el mexicano entrée salad with tofu and option of seitan, and ever-changing specials like vegan mac-n-cheese.
Right now we are witnessing a transition period in which people are becoming more aware of the benifits of good nutrition. Om Café believes in the importance of continuing to push the envelope to offer cuisine that is both nutritious and delicious. They believe that it is a blessing to be able to serve meals based on whole natural foods, minimizing processed foods so that customers are able to know the exact ingredients that were put into their order. Om Café has also been offering macrobiotic menu selections from the start.
The key to their delicious menu is to knowing every ingredient, and its source.
“It’s about the people; if nobody here cared then no one would come.” Said Jessica Norwood, General Manager “We are here and waiting for people to try the delicious food, answer any questions, and meet any dietary concerns.”
For the employees it’s more than just a job. Everyone that works there has the inspiration and fire in them, it is part of their life and they want to share that. The manager also acts as the hostess when you enter the restaurant, thrilled to answer any question that you might have. Any of the employees are happy to stop what they are doing to connect with someone in a special way. Even if that person never comes back, they just want to share that energy with them.
Much of the food is organic, from markets including Westborn and Eastern Market. Specials are seasonal, focusing on salads and fruits in the summer, and soups and stews in the fall and winter. The buddhist priest stir fry is a menu favorite that has been around for 30 years, with rice or noodles sautéed with with a colorful assortment of six fresh vegetables, topped with basil, tamari and scallions. The Nori Rolls have been on the menu since the beginning, and are the perfect start to a meal or filling enough for the main feature. A more recent favorite is the house made cremini mushroom burger, a blend of mushrooms, walnuts and brown rice. The soups are excellent, with one or two offerings that change daily. Finish off any meal with a selection of desserts, made special in house and practically impossible to pass on. New to the restaurant are the vegan pancakes which are featured on the Saturday breakfast menu. With so many options it is hard to choose.