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Cafe Evolution

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 32 reviews )
Contact 413 586-0200

22 Chestnut St, Florence, Massachusetts, USA, 01062

Vegan food cafe menu featuring daily specials, soups, noodle, sandwiches, and sweets. Dinner on Saturday nights with performance plus Sunday brunch. Mon-Wed 7:30am-4:00pm, Thu 7:30am-6:00pm, Fri 7:30am-8:00pm, Sat 9:00am-9:00pm, Sun 10:00am-2:00pm

Category: Vegan, American, Organic, Bakery

Reviews (32)

First Review by hdrooker

great! - Edit

I came here while waiting for a patient at the hospital. I had the cold Evolution noodles with greens, tofu and peanut sauce. Super. I also got a brownie and blood orange cupcake to go. Excellent!

Pros: Friendly service and large space with plenty of pa, Great food, Lots of options

Cons: Reluctant to recommend a dessert, the arms of the chair were sticky

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Incredible!! - Edit

My significant other brought me here for Valentine's Day and I could not have been happier! Everyone who worked there was incredibly kind and friendly (the owner even gave me a free button, and the atmosphere was very calm and relaxing. Their variety was impressive; I had no idea what to order and spent quite a while contemplating what I should choose, eventually settling upon a Saint Reuben on a poppyseed bagel, which was delicious. My S.O. let me try everything on his plate (he got a sort of sampler plate), and it all tasted amazing, too. To top it all off, I got to have my favorite drink, vegan hot chocolate. I can't wait to go back here and try all of their dishes, including their desserts, which I couldn't eat because I was simply too full! This is one of my favorite vegan restaurants now :)

Pros: Great food, Quick service, Friendly people

Cons: Bathroom on the left doesn't lock properly

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Cafe Evolution - Edit

I had an enjoyable meal at this Cafe ~ it was nice to know, going in, that I was able to order anything on the menu for dinner. My meal was plentiful and delicious.

Pros: could eat anything I wanted

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Cafe Devolution - Edit

I looked forward to my visit to Café Evolution with great anticipation. I have visited many vegan restaurants around the world, but unfortunately my home in Western, MA is lacking when it comes to vegan cuisine. I was very happy to discover a vegan establishment so close by, and one that had received such good reviews at that.

When my husband and I arrived at the café we discovered that only cash was accepted. No problem, we thought, and walked to a local bank. Upon returning we decided to order the nachos and a sloppy-joe sandwich. Other menu items we noticed were the burrito, and the chili. It was disclosed on the menu that the burrito was stuffed with chili.

While waiting for our food we looked for a table, many of which were quite filthy. I also paid a visit to the rest room, the condition of which put a damper on my appetite. Quietly discussing the sanitary situation, we debated cancelling our order. We decided to stay as our food was already being prepared (by the same person who had handled our money). After some time our meals were ready, but which was the sloppy-joe and which were the nachos??? Both meals just looked like chili! The only way to tell them apart was that the nachos had some chips tossed around the side and the sloppy-joe included bread.

I must admit that the cupcake we ordered for dessert was tasty, and that this was fall of 2013, so perhaps things have improved. Also, that the person working at the counter was nice and seemed to be trying her best, despite being the only person there. Café Evolution was by far the worst vegan dinning experience I have had, and can't imagine it could get much worse. I wish I could give this café only 1 cow (for the cupcake), but Happy Cow only allows 2 cows as the lowest rating.

Pros: cheap, good cupcake

Cons: not clean, bad food, terrible atmosphere

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Horrible - Edit

This is the first time I unfortunately have to write a negative review on Happy Cow. I am not sure what others are seeing in this place. The day we went there almost all the food was chili based (and not good chili at that). That is, all the menu items were actually the same, despite being called different things.

The place is terribly dirty as well. We have eaten at over a dozen vegan restaurants (Boston, NY, Spain, Brattleboro) and this one, I am sad to say, embarrasses me. I just hope non-vegans do not go there and think this is vegan cuisine.

However, we actually ordered 200 cupcakes for our wedding (before laying eyes on the place because we live in the Berkshires) and these were a BIG hit I must say.

Disclaimer: We did not have their brunch which sounds like it may be palatable. But, due to the dirtiness I would never go back.

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  Contributions +32

A Pleasant Surprise - Edit

Heard about this place last year. Since I decided to go full on vegan I thought what the heck I'll give it a go. I was so happy to find that it was a truly vegan place to eat. I had the special sandwich of the day, the Thunderstorm Burger, and it was awesome. My only complaint was that today it didn't look like they were following up on clean up very well. We tried three different tables before we found one that was wiped off. The service wasn't slow while I was there so I'm guessing there must be a time of the day/week when they have a problem with slow service. It would be nice if they had a gluten free bread option.

Pros: Food was DELICIOUS, Friendly Staff, Gluten Free Options

Cons: No Gluten Free Bread, Tables not so clean

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We love this place! - Edit

My boyfriend and I have been going to cafe evolution 1-2 times a month for several years and the food is always delicious. I like the laid-back atmosphere of ordering at the counter and not having a waiter. I love the baked tofu sandwich best, and the specials are always really good. Deserts are great, I especially love the scones and they serve great coffee and other drinks. I also really love the salad with the Japanese carrot dressing. I could go on and on...

Updated from previous review on Tuesday June 04, 2013

My husband and I still go here a lot, and the food is always great. I'm very grateful to have a long-standing vegan restaurant that is comfortable, laid-back and welcoming, that serves really good food at a good price. Vegan places seem to come and go, and I'm really hoping that Cafe Evolution will be around for a long, long time.

My only complaints are that it is cash-only. I get it, but it's inconvenient. Also, I really really wish there was a pickle with my baked tofu sandwich! Oh and maybe the option of cole slaw (the ginger slaw that comes with the specials?) or potato salad instead of the chips.

Pros: Great food , Good prices, Calm environment, nice staff

Cons: cash only, NO PICKLE

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great food - Edit

I eat here periodically when I have some time to wait since the service is generally very slow. Most items can be made gluten free and the whole menu is vegan. I like the loaded nachos with bean chili and the baked goods as well.

Pros: tasty snacks and lunch foods

Cons: really slow service

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Delicious baked goods! - Edit

I've only been here twice (most recently in mid-August) since I live in Boston, but have enjoyed it both times. I really like the artsy / laid-back atmosphere. They have a very limited menu, but what they have are mostly healthy comforting and good tasting foods. I recall loving my first entree experience, but my 2nd (red bean cakes, salad and harvest soup) was good but not great (cakes were too dry and soup had lots of mushrooms, not the chefs fault, but I don't like mushrooms). Where they really shine is their baked goods, which I got a bunch of to go both times I went. Delicious scones, cupcakes and more. If you end up near Northampton, definitely check them out.

One word of caution, their whole wheat bread may contain honey (it tasted like it did, but I didn't ask).

Pros: Friendly staff, Artsy/fun atmosphere, Delicious vegan baked goods

Cons: Limited menu, Limited hours

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the best vegan food in Northampton! - Edit

My husband and I had lunch at Cafe Evolution the other day - it was amazing! The atmosphere - open floor plan, converted warehouse
Soft music and plants everywhere, vintage furniture, and really nice people.
The food: we had the special soup of the day (garbanzo mushroom) which was creamy and delicious, then I had the large garden salad with baked tofu, avocado and tahini dressing - so fresh and yummy! My husband had the winner though...the tempeh BLT. It was so good and made on their homemade bread.
I also had a great house-made chai tea (loved because they don't sweeten it).
They also had the children's book "That's Why We Don't Eat Animals" on the windowsill which I had been meaning to read. If you haven't read it, you should!

Pros: excellent food, nice staff, great atmosphere

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Hidden Gem - Edit

Maybe the only entirely vegan cafe in the area. Great staff, by far my favorite place to eat. Sandwiches are fabulous. Desserts are to die for. Wide array of alt. milks for coffee. Dedication to only serving organic vegan food is a huge selling point. Great atmosphere and lots of literature / AR pamphlets available for reading. Kid friendly, gender neutral bathrooms.

Pros: Wide array of vegan treats, atmosphere, Vegan BLT

Cons: somewhat slow service, $$

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Great! - Edit

I liked this Cafe. While a little grungy, the atmosphere is pretty nice. I got the chili and the nachos, both of which were good. I would love to try brunch!

Pros: Many Options, Good Service, Nice Seating

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Delicious and awesome, can't wait to go back. - Edit

By chance, I went with a friend to this place, and I must say, it is amazing. The food was delicious (I had vegan chili), the owners are very genuine and nice people, and I am really impressed by the menu, which has all sorts of tasty goodies I can't wait to try.

I also like the animal-rights literature that is displayed inside the cafe. It isn't just about the food we eat, it's about our personal morals as well.

This place is a wonderful resource for vegans. The food is excellent and I plan to come back as often as I can. This place is a wonderful escape and a chance to be with like-minded people while enjoying some of the best vegan food in the area.

The bakery is also amazing, I can't wait to try everything.

Pros: Delicious food, Nice, nice people, Bakery

Cons: I live far away and can't eat there more, More people should know about this place

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favorite vegan cafe in town - Edit

Cafe evolution is my favorite vegan restaurant in Northampton. I like the open atmosphere, and it is a comfortable place to sit for as long as you wish (as long as the cafe remains open, as Sundays they close at 2:00).

The portions are always generous, and chef Heather's specials are always creative and amazing. Often the specials are sold-out, and the regular menu items are good as well. The peanut noodles are favorites of non-veg friends and family, and everyone loves the baked goods. The chili is a nourishing and delicious stand-by. The coffee is strong- locally roasted fair trade from Pierce Brothers, and many hot drinks are available. The oat bread for sandwiches is delicious and wholesome.

Daiya cheese is often used for the specials, and I prefer that cheese to other fake cheeses. Sheese is sold in the deli, but not usually used in the recipes.

Live music and poetry readings often take place, especially on the weekends.

The Sunday brunch menu includes scrambled tofu, french toast, omelette, lemon corn waffles, pancakes, yogurt & granola, homefries and bagel sandwiches and is served 10-2. There are a lot of dairy substitutes used at evolution, but you can usually find something without processed soy products.

Pros: 100% vegan, Tasty, nourishing food, Comfortable atmosphere

Cons: Not in downtown Noho, Cash only, Specials sometimes sell out

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The best (and only) 100% vegan restaurant around - Edit

Excellent Sunday brunches. Though I am not a fan of fake cheeses generally and the brand they use in particular.

The baked goods here are the best vegan baked goods I've ever had. Though they are a little on the sweet side. Coffee is not so good here.

Portions are generous to a fault. Menu is not gourmet oriented. Plenty of tasty, well prepared choices.

Big open space dining area. Pleasantly funky and decidedly casual. If there are noisy kid near you it can be really loud here. Seasonal outside table next to the parking lot (not so nice). Parking lot is small. Limited nearby on street parking. Evolution doesn't take plastic, bring federal reserve notes.

Service. Order and pay at the counter. Pick up your order at the counter when your name's called. Bus your own table. Service is sometimes lackadaisical and not too friendly (it helps if you're a regular).

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Great Baked Goods - Edit

I tried the chili burrito it was pretty good. The brownie I had was the best I have had. Vegan or not vegan. I also tried the some other baked items. They were all great!

Pros: Great food, Friendly staff, Good atmosphere

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Neat place - Edit

I have stopped by here a few times and really liked the chili as well as the baked items. I was impressed with the place. It has a sort of warehouse feel to it compared to the tiny shops in NY - large open space with tables, couches, bar stools, large windows, etc. The cupcakes are large size and seem like a fair value. The staff are friendly. I went once for the Sunday brunch, the food was very good but note several ill-behaved children in the place then. Later evening sometimes have entertainment via donation at the door.

Pros: good portions, lots of room, artistic decor

Cons: sceaming children on Sunday

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Awesome Desserts!! - Edit

My husband and I visited Cafe Evolution from Connecticut after hearing about it from the Vegan Bus. We were happy to see the huge Vegan Bus parked in their parking lot! Very cool! The inside was larger and more modern-looking (versus hippy-looking) than what I had expected. We had to walk to a nearby gas station to use an ATM because I didn't realize they only take cash and local checks- what a bummer! We ordered soup, a sandwich, and nachos. I loved that the bread was really thick and homemade (bread came with the soup, too). At first we were impressed with the melted Sheese "cheese" on the nachos, but once it cooled down it was no longer good- just sort of chunky and thick. I would love to see this place try out a vegan cheese made in the USA, rather than import Sheese from Scotland. (Maybe they could use Teese made in Chicago or Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheese made in Brooklyn.) We also got dessert and coffee. The cupcakes are so yummy- large and thickly topped with frosting! And I loved that the coffee bar offered agave as a sweetener along with many vegan creamer choices. Also, all the little details makes this place great, too: they compost your food scraps (if you even have any!), they use Dr. Bronner's soap in the bathrooms, and they have a great community bulletin board around the door frame. If we are in the area again, we will have cash on hand and just stick to the cupcakes and coffee.

Pros: Yummy Desserts, Good Variety, Enviromentally-Friendly

Cons: Cash & Local Checks only, Scotland-imported Sheese "cheese"

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Great Food, needing to go Pro - Edit

It's ironic that the thing I most remember about Evolution is just how HARD it is to share it with my friends because of their limited hours and cash-only policy. The food is really good, very fresh 'vegan deli' fare, tasty faux-meat sammiches, excellent chili, noodle dishes, and regularly-changing specials. They are an offshoot of the locally-famous 'Oh Sweet Mama's!' vegan bakery, so the desserts (an excellent selection of vegan cookies, bars, and genuinely fantastic cupcakes) are the real stars of the show, but the adherence to bakery hours and business practices shows in the decidedly limited hours of operation and occasionally... casual approach to service. The location itself i off the beaten path, tucked away behind a nondescript warehouse-looking building off a side street. All the food is very fresh, though I did catch them microwaving my burrito wrap the other day (uck!), a shortcut I hadn't noticed before, maybe it was the later hour. Bread is all fresh-made there, and excellent, if sometimes a little too crumbly to hold a generous sandwich entirely together. All food is entirely vegan, so no worries on that front.

Staff is generally 'hippy-friendly' to a fault, occasionally overly familiar or needing to finish a chat before getting to your order. I've never been there when it's been crowded enough that seating has been an issue, though the resident jazz trio is far too loud to allow for conversation or comfortable dining if you're not a fan when they get going. Definite bonus points for the working old-school Ms. Pacman lounge table, though.

Overall, it's a great little vegan deli, if you can get there when they're open, are not in a hurry, and remember to bring cash. Get some cupcakes to go.


Pros: All Vegan, Fresh, Excellent Deli-style Food, TOp-Notch Desserts for take-out

Cons: Cash Only, Very limited hours of operation, Occasional too-casual service

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Amazing Food & Atmosphere - Edit

Just found this gem. So glad I live close enough to visit on a regular basis. The food is sooooo good and the atmosphere is so laid back and comfortable. The chili burrito and nachos are yummilicious. The Sunday brunch is the best!

The owner, Star, is very welcoming; I love his positivity.

For a great vegan experience, you must eat here.

Pros: awesome food, friendly staff, fast service

Cons: NONE!!!

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Mixed - Edit

Service is erratic -- sometimes fine, but often you stand at the counter for ages before anyone notices you. Ginger scones are great, but the ginger pear muffin is dreadful -- greasy, way too much sugar on top, and lands in your digestive track like a hockey puck.

Pros: Scones, Wifi

Cons: Slow service

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Excellent Place to Eat (Best for Vegans) - Edit

I just drove 50miles out of my way to try this place after hearing about it on Vegan Radio. I was not disappointed the food was great, the people wonderful and to top it off ... free internet for me to browse the web!

Pros: Good Food, Price, Location

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Unbe-friggin'-lievable! - Edit

We loved, loved, loved this place so much, I was forced to use my own made-up word to heap praise upon it! And even then I fall shamefully short of doing Evolution Cafe the justice it so richly deserves. We traveled for two hours to get to this place and the long trip was definitely worth it! We had the Sunday brunch; I ordered the Lemon Corn Waffles with Blueberry Sauce -- even better than it sounds -- and tempeh "bacon," while my wife --are you ready? -- the Vegan Omelette! The flavor and texture of the latter, stuffed with vegan cheese, shitake mushrooms, peppers and onions, successfully mimicked the taste and mouth-feel of the omelettes made with you-know-what. And it came with fried potatoes and thick whole grain bread drenched with what probably was "buttery" Earth Balance. And we accompanied this enchanted meal with top-of-the-line, oh so flavorful teas. Alas, I did not save room for the tempting cupcakes, so I took home with me two chocolate chocolate-chip cupcakes, one with peanut butter frosting, the other, mint "cream cheese." My wife, who is diabetic, was able to take out a raspberry coconut spelt bar, sweetened with low-glycemic agave nectar. Everything was so indescribably delicious. Oh, how I love being vegan! Regarding atmosphere? Well, here is a restaurant on the cutting edge of vegan cooking and baking ingenuity which, unlike so many vegan restaurants and publications in these times, avoids the brash-glitzy-movie star-image, and instead maintains an ambience reminiscent of the down-to-earth, tie-dyed, '60s hippie culture. We're going back -- you'd better believe we will! -- and the next time we do, we shall partake of the full menu! Ah, Evolution, how we vegans have evolved!

Pros: delicious food , friendly staff, all vegan

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Home of the Cupcake Queen! - Edit

We liked Oh Sweet Mama's vegan cupcakes so much that we are serving them at our wedding instead of a traditional cake! We are looking forward to trying the vegan brunch offerings the next time we're in town on a weekend morning.

Pros: cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes

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Cafe Evolution ROCKS! - Edit

Don't be afraid to check out this cafe even if you're not vegan or vegetarian. Make sure you save some room for Megan's incredible desserts. I don't think I've ever had a bad dish at this restaurant. Prices are reasonable considering the quality of the food. Nice ambience. After your first visit you'll feel like an old friend the next time.

Pros: Great food, Great people, Great desserts

Cons: Sometimes parking lot is full.

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my favorite place on earth! - Edit

i love evolution cafe so much i feel sad when i am not there. it isn't just the food, though that in itself is spectacular. i love the ambience at evolution more than at any other restaurant or cafe i know. it's great for hanging out, people-watching, studying, and now watching movies on the new big-screen tv. there's even wireless internet access so you can sit and geek out all day long drinking kombucha tea if you want to.

when i go to evolution i almost always get the faux-turkey sandwich, but the soups and salads are also amazing and the sunday brunch is to die for. the baked goods from oh sweet mama's bakery deserve special mention - i have to work hard to keep myself away from the chocolate-chip cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. i had to make a vow to myself that i would only eat cupcakes socially, in order to not put on one million pounds from vegan cupcakes alone.

evolution cafe is also a gallery for the art of cafe owner star drooker, and his polaroid mosaic grids cover the walls. it is impossible to describe them so you just have to go in and see for yourself. while you're there you'll probably run into somebody you know! it's that kind of place.

i've never met anyone who had less than a great experience at evolution.

Pros: great food, great ambience, cupcakes

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Amazingly delicious vegan delight! - Edit

I've been here many many times so far and I have to say that I am never left disappointed after having eaten there. The daily menu is fantastic and offers many scrumptious options including a chili burrito, "turkey" sandwich, vegan-BLT, quiche and so much more. Since I don't live extremely close to this place, I'm always torn between going for lunch or dinner during the week, or holding off until Sunday morning for their fabulous brunch. I'm talkin' vegan-omelettes, waffles, pancakes, "sausage" patties, delicious tofu-scrambles...mmmm mmmm mmmmmmmmm.
And last, but most certainly not least, let's not forget about the mouth-watering dessert case, which is always stocked full of Megan's(Oh Sweet Mama's Bakery) fantastically delicious items including cream-filled chocolate cupcakes, lemon-cupcakes, choco-PB squares, cakes, pies, cookies.......did I mention I love this place so much I could marry it? Star, the owner of this fine establishment is a very kind and sincere person. Megan's great as well, and she makes the best cakes, which you can always special order with her. So you've read all of this, which I thank you for, so now go and do yourself a favor and check this place out. You will not be disappointed.

Pros: Amazing food!, Great atmosphere!, Super-friendly staff!

Cons: Not next door to me : (, *, *

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A wonderful dining experience in a homey environment! The food is delicious, ample and creatively prepared. Don't leave without tasting a soup or dessert.

Pros: great food, happy staff and diners, beautiful room

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