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Plant Power: Lifestyle Cafe is bringing vegan options back to Olde Towne East

Mitch Hooper

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As a vegetarian, I rarely start my day off the proper way. Typically, it’s an excess amount of black coffee until the hamster on a wheel operating my brain finally wakes up. And if one thing is for certain, options like chicken and waffles or bacon and egg sliders were breakfast specialties I waved goodbye to many years ago.

That was until I discovered Lifestyle Cafe.

Lifestyle Cafe is a new plant-based restaurant rising from the ashes of the former Angry Baker spot on Oak St. in Old Town East. Thanks to the chef-driven mind of Shanna Dean, also known as Chef Bae, and business-geared brain of Dawn Dickson, Lifestyle Cafe is offering approachable and familiar options that are exclusively vegan. The aforementioned chicken and waffles can be made with a soy-based protein, or cauliflower, and the waffles are gluten-free. The final product is a crispy and subtly spicy chick’n atop cinnamon and coconut waffles with real maple syrup and maple cream drizzled over it all. On the other hand, the bacon and egg slider features smoky coconut bacon, fluffy vegan Just Egg eggs, and an avocado aioli.

Photos: Olivia James

Dean, a graduate of the culinary arts program at Columbus’ Bradford School, said she knew she wanted to pursue a career as a chef, but wasn’t sold on the idea of a fast-paced kitchen with a large staff to manage. It was Dickson, a long- time friend of Dean’s, who presented the idea of starting the restaurant. Dickson also provided the confidence Dean needed to go through with it.

“I was really nervous, like how is this going to be? In real life as best friends, we’re great; there’s no problems because there’s no business,” Dean recalled. “She gave me one of the best compliments ever. She said, ‘I travel the world and eat vegan food. Yours is some of the best vegan food I’ve ever had.’ To have that confirmation from someone I know who has tasted food everywhere […] I was like, ‘Alright, let’s do this.’”

Dickson and Dean switched to a vegetarian and vegan diet in 2007 and the two agreed that things have come a long way. Both of them recalled going out to eat and mostly being stuck ordering salads with just tomatoes. Their hope with Lifestyle was two-fold: one, fill the plant-based gap that was now open in OTE, and two, bring some more hot plate foods to the growing vegan and vegetarian game in Columbus.

Now, the restaurant is operating every day except Mondays. The menu is diverse, with some options on the standard breakfast side, while others, such as the vegan shrimp and grits, play more towards a brunch crowd. Dean is leading the charge in the kitchen alongside her sous-chef Christi Jackson.

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“I did one interview with her, I really liked her and she had all the experience,” Dean explained. “And since she’s been on the team, she’s been everything you can dream of in having a number two.”

With the high volume of fresh produce and products being used at Lifestyle, the job demands long days, and the dynamic between a chef and her sous-chef is an obviously important aspect. The two are no strangers to being in the kitchen as early as 4 a.m. Dean is very much empowering Jackson in the kitchen; the sous-chef is free to experiment with current menu options, add new offerings, and manage new locations if and when expansion time comes.

“Lifestyle Cafe has definitely been about bringing together the right people to accomplish something really, really beautiful,” Dean explained. “Cooking food is not just about putting a bunch of different things together; your energy goes into the food and that’s why we created the vibe that we did.”

The interior of the restaurant is similar to the former Angry Baker, but with a face lift. The tables are minimally decorated with terrariums, while the windows are full of greenery and house plants. Much like the Angry Baker, the bar is still a highly coveted spot where patrons can enjoy an Upper Cup cup of coffee or a pastry from Happy Little Treats with the kitchen area still wide open as if to say, “Watch us, we’ve got nothing to hide.”

Ordering your meal is as simple as pressing a few buttons on an iPad, thanks to Dickson’s PopCom operating system which manages data on the backend. Guests are invited to leave a love note on the blackboard, whether it’s related to the food, or just some good news. And as each person exits Lifestyle, an affectionate “love ya” is shouted by Chef Bae.

The love they are spreading reaches beyond just the Lifestyle Cafe menu. As previously mentioned, Upper Cup Coffee provides the java and Happy Little Treats still has favorites like vegan pop tarts available. Chef Bae also has her own personal brand of herbal and fruit infused spring water available for purchase which comes in flavors like blueberry basil detox. This list of outside vendors inside Lifestyle is something Dickson said she hopes to grow, so expect to see more options in the coming months.

“We tell our clients when they leave, ‘I love you,’ and it’s really real,” Dean said. “When I hire everybody, I tell them, ‘when people come here, we’re serving love.’”

Lifestyle Cafe is located on 891 Oak St. For hours and operations, visit facebook.com/PlantBasedLifestyleCafe.

millennial | writer | human

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Food & Drink

Burritos To-Go: Six spots with carry-out or delivery for National Burrito Day

614now Staff

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It's always great to support local, but when you can do so and enjoy a burrito? That's a win-win.

While COVID-19 has made going to restaurants almost non-existent, carry-out and delivery still remains an option for many places. And to celebrate National Burrito Day, we wanted to send you in the direction of six spots that are offering the beloved-burrito through carry-out and/or delivery.

Señor Antonios Mexican Restaurant | Carry-out | 8617 Columbus Pike

Everything a traditional burrito should be; grilled chicken, fajitas, and smothered in cheese sauce.

https://www.facebook.com/SenorAntonios/photos/rpp.138883582788520/468001616543380/?type=3&theater

Dos Hermanos | Carry-out and delivery | 59 Spruce St.

Though their hours are restricted now—11 a.m. to 5 p.m.—you can still snag one of these at the North Market, or through apps like UberEats, PostMates, and GrubHub.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtEJocWAi5w/

Brekkie Shack | Carry-out and delivery| 1060 Yard St.

It's never too late in the day for a breakfast burrito!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-Cvtjfn8fi/

Chile Verde | Carry-out and delivery | Varies

Its best recommended to attack a Chile Verde burrito with a knife, fork, and loads of extra napkins.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7lyLlJA9Xa/

Northstar Cafe | Carry-out and delivery | Varies

Northstar keeps the vegetarians in mind with this burrito featuring tofu, brown rice, and greens.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8HUrKODiyP/

Cuco's Taqueria | Curb-side pick-up and delivery | 2162 W Henderson Rd.

Cuco's makes sure you have enough burrito to last you at least two meals. Plus, what's National Burrito Day without some chips and salsa?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsN_SYGlTHI/

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Big Cat Energy: Watch Brio Asst. GM channel Joe Exotic in new video

Mitch Hooper

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At this point, the Tiger King references are all but inescapable. And it's for good reason; the show somehow gets more and more detached from reality as it goes on.

That being said, no one expected this video when Brio took to Facebook to announce its still doing carry-out orders at its Easton location.

https://www.facebook.com/brio.easton.9/videos/118240286484197/

"Hey! Do y’all have the hunger of a large jungle cat?" the post said. "Y’all tired of being caged up all day? Can’t find meat in the grocery store? Well, git yerself down to the Brio! Hurry, and try not to git bit!"

But this isn't the first time they've used a unique approach to announcements.

https://www.facebook.com/brio.easton.9/videos/117821209859438/UzpfSTEwMDA0ODk0Njc3ODUzNDozMDYwNjExMjk0OTk0MTQ6MTA6MDoxNTg4MzE2Mzk5Oi03NDQ0OTc1OTI2Nzk2MDk4MzQx/

Visit this link to place a pick-up order.

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Katalina’s owner leading charge for independent restaurant owners

614Now

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Known for her famous Pancake Balls (ridiculously delish, BTW), Katalina Day, the namesake behind Katalina's, is urging Gov. DeWine to consider emergency financial lifelines for her industry.

Restaurants were among the first and most devastated industries impacted by the coronavirus. Many notable local brands, such as Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, have closed most operations. According to Day, the industry needs immediate government intervention to survive.

Day started a Change.org petition which articulates the unique and specific challenges faced by the industry and the people who rely on it for their livelihood.

Addressing Gov. Dewine for relief, the petition is closing in on 1,000 signatures

"We have followed orders to close our doors to protect our communities, knowing what it would mean for our businesses, and we are grateful as citizens that you were one of the first to foresee that necessity. We did so without protest, and those of us who remain open are providing a valuable service through delivery, despite it being increasingly less profitable (as delivery services infringe on any profit)." said Day in the petition.

The petition closes with: "Bottom line: From our employees to our vendors and landlords to the burden on the healthcare industry and government, there is not a part of society that will not be touched by this crisis. "

Given these unprecedented challenges, please immediately consider:

  • Emergency grants for immediate business needs such as payroll and crucial operating expenses including food orders and utilities. 
  • Commercial and residential rent abatement and a moratorium on evictions both for owners and employees. 
  • Immediate cash relief for current and laid-off employees.
  • Abatement of payroll and sales tax.
  • Temporary commercial and government loan payment relief.
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