Organic InterestA new North Side café has ambitious plans to bring healthy cuisine to the neighborhood.
Zed Café at 5109 Lakeside Ave. is part of a wellness center at BodyZenSoul salon and spa (formerly Tanglz). It offers breakfast and luncheon fare now, with dinner on weekends set to begin in the fall.
Owner Lisa Granger says availability of organic foods is a determining factor in what the café will serve: "We don't compromise on quality, so we have a small menu with a fairly narrow scope that keeps a creative element in the kitchen at all times. Our goal is to offer the highest quality organically grown food we can source."
She and chef Tom Vigue will feature chicken and fish along with house-made soups, dressings, bakery items and produce. Granger's favorites include the salmon burger with a special herb mix served with lime guacamole, and a Napa cabbage salad with chili-lime vinaigrette.
The eco-sensitive café uses as few disposable items as possible and is striving to become a certified organic café. Zed Café sells Counter Culture coffees, Rishi teas and prepared organic foods to-go daily except Sundays. 261-5656.
Patio TriumphIt took years to win approval, but Caliente! owners Dave and Courtney Bender say they're pleased that Richmond City Council recently approved their plan to open a patio at their restaurant at 2922 Park Ave. the first outdoor dining spot in the Museum District.
Once they established community support, provided parking, agreed to restrictions and attended numerous meetings and hearings, the Benders negotiated to keep peace with the neighborhood association and fulfill zoning requirements. It wasn't easy or efficient, Dave Bender says, but he's satisfied that he can extend his business to the outdoors, even if it means closing at the specified hour of 10:30 p.m.
"We've proven ourselves to be a good neighbor," he says, "and we're trying to help the neighborhood get rid of the Devil's Triangle image and become the desirable location we know it can be."