Nestled in the seaside town of Beverly on the North Shore of Boston, Massachusetts, is a culinary gem—Organic Garden Café founded in 1999 by Robert Reid. According to the cafe’s website, Reid’s sister-in-law was fighting terminal cancer in the mid-1990s. Her illness launched him on a journey to seek an alternative diet that would support her in her battle. His extensive research led him to develop an organic, raw food diet packed with living nutrients. In a sense, he was somewhat ahead of his time. Over the succeeding years, studies have shown that similar diets featuring locally sourced, unprocessed, and antioxidant rich ingredients are essential to living a long, healthy life. Reid’s mission to help people access healthy, “medicinal” food became the basis for opening his Beverly restaurant.
Organic Garden Café is located on Cabot Street, a busy downtown thoroughfare. It’s housed in an intimate space with twelve to fourteen tables—mostly for two—placed closely together. A refrigerator case at the back of the establishment contains a variety of homemade vegan desserts, as well as take-out items, including the café’s own veggie burgers. The menu is a vegan-lover’s dream. Breakfast, lunch (weekdays only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and dinner items are prepared from scratch every day and feature certified whole foods, many of which come from local farms. Dishes are not cooked in the conventional sense. Instead food is prepared using no- or low-heat techniques. The result is fare that pops with melt-in-your-mouth flavor.
Because of the restaurant’s popularity and limited space, reservations are suggested. When we arrived around 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, only a few tables were occupied. But by the time we left, the place was nearly full. After we were seated, we surveyed the extensive menu options. There were so many delicious looking choices that it was difficult to decide. The guest of honor (the person whose birthday we were celebrating) selected the Nut Butter Squash Ravioli ($17.95). Made from thinly sliced red beets, the flavorful “raviolis” were stuffed with nut butter, covered in a vegan cashew alfredo sauce, and sprinkled with rosemary, walnuts, and tomatoes. The luscious dish was both light and satisfying. (more…)