not a buddha's belly
Posted on 08 / 16 / 2010
Not natural enough for me!
It's a relatively affordable place on the main drag State St with a nice atmosphere and an interesting menu, numerous vegetarian and vegan options and modification possibilities. But the false marketing is super annoying! If you really care to have a belly like their smiling Buddha statues, don't eat here.
I've frequented this place and I really care about how my food gets made, so I've asked a lot of questions. I've also known employees. My opinion is that the people at the top of Natural Cafe really capitalize on the "green-washing" trend. The owner also owns other regional franchises and the purpose of this place is to churn it out as cheaply as possible while keeping with the theme. Check out all the styrofoam and plastic used when bulk biodegradable stuff is super accessible.
The roasted turkey comes from Butterball Farms- eek! They serve a ground turkey patty, fish, and chicken too, all from factory farms.
The "ice-milk" in the shakes is Thrifty's brand ice cream.
No local produce here, and none of the fruits, veggies, spices, etc. are organic.
Vegetarians and vegans, beware. Animal by-products lurk in products, including the feta (calf-lisage?). The daily dairy soups often contain chicken stock.
Also lurking in a lot of the basic ingredients is corn syrup, though it seems a small amount that reaches the finished plate compared to many other restaurants.
If you're really curious about the food, I would recommend asking to see the package or the recipe yourself. In my experience, the employees have different info depending on the day and individual. But who could blame them, at basically minimum wage. They don't treat the employees particularly well, the business aspect is more important to the men at the top.
If only these successful entrepreneurs could have some integrity and not take advantage of the desire to eat well.
California cuisine, friendly staff
not eco-friendly, not too healthy, long wait during busy hours