IMAGE VIA KIND CAFE | FACEBOOK
As Vancouver’s only zero-waste vegan cafe, KIND Cafe is making moves ahead of the trend in a pivotal time — one in which the realization of caring about our health and our planet goes hand-in-hand.
As we all aim to be a little more sustainable, the father-daughter duo behind KIND, Samantha and Marvin Emerman, have been changing the game. The spot near Main and 14th St. opened this past summer with an uplifting ethos focused on being kind to our bodies, animals, community, and planet. Utilizing local suppliers and an eco-friendly approach, the uniquely Vancouver vegan eatery is making it “cool to be kind.”
Samantha originally trained and practiced as an online holistic nutritionist and life coach, which meant she spent plenty of time working from cafes. Yet the spaces she found herself in didn’t lend comfort and focus to her work, nor her environmentalist and vegan values. Instead, she found herself having to “watch jugs of milk poured and then tossed away... (I was) constantly watching staff members take out the garbages and recycling every hour.”
Not one to shy away from a challenge, she has taken the initiative and transformed her discomfort into something compassionate, something KIND: “I would sit and work and just wish there was a kinder cafe around! A kinder experience. And I just couldn't find it. So I created it. And I hope that I can inspire other cafes to go this route, or build more KINDs around the world.”
The cafe isn’t what you would expect from an eco-friendly, vegan establishment. The duo have created a relaxing and open space to while away your time with its high ceilings, a myriad of plants and hanging baskets, and twinkling fairy lights that wrap their way up the staircase to the mezzanine level. There are communal tables to encourage conversation, booths for your lunch dates, and a couple of no-computer zones to bring an opportunity to disconnect in favour of connecting with friends, family, or just yourself.
The sustainable approach has brought reusable napkins and straws to its cutlery area, while jars of brightly coloured bulk ingredients line the walls, ready to be transformed into delicious dishes. There are even KIND-branded MiiR bottles and other eco-friendly goodies to take your positive deeds beyond the four walls of the space and encourage others to do so too.
And they make it easy to get involved in the KIND, vegan, and sustainable community — keep your eyes on their events board for meet-ups, pop-ups, and even educational and fun workshops, such as Plant-Based Diets 101, DIY Coffee Skincare, and Vision Boarding.
All this and we haven’t spoken about the food! The menu itself is as wholesome as the cafe’s backstory. “We make everything from scratch with produce, spices, nuts, and seeds. Every day. It's real food and it's 100% vegan,” she shared. The team also aims to accommodate all sorts of dietary requirements, realizing that being vegan can be especially hard if you’re soy-, gluten-, or nut-free. Delight in housemade nut mylks and vegan cheese, and smoothies with surprising ingredients like yam, zucchini, blue-green algae, coconut, nut butters, and the option to add granola and other toppings.
There’s bagels (our go-to has to be the carrot lox), sandwiches like the Tempeh Reuben, flatbreads, and bowls ranging from Mediterranean-inspired (think falafel, maple tahini dressing, and eggplant dip) to a pesto-based zoodles dish. As you might understand, there’s not a bad choice on the menu.
If you’re feeling passionate about bringing not only these flavours but these values into your own home, Samantha let us in on a little secret: “KIND will also be launching our vegan and zero-waste meal prep service in 2020!” And if you haven’t stopped by the Mt. Pleasant café already, what are you waiting for? Just, whatever you do, remember to BYO cups and containers for takeout!
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