Cafe Evolution

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 42 reviews )
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. Open 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.

Categories: Vegan, American, Organic, Bakery

42 Reviews

First Review by hdrooker

It's all good... - Edit

Everything at this landmark vegan cafe is excellent! And that includes the staff!

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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

1 Response
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StarDrooker 04 Dec 2013 - We don't use honey in the bread or anything else. Thanks for coming to our cafe. peace  

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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"

1 Response
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StarDrooker 04 Dec 2013 - We never used the Scheese on the nachos, we used Follow Your Heart back then. Now we use Diaya. We sold Scheese wholesale only, and we don't sell anymore. Thanks for coming to our cafe. Peace  

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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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Favorite Restaurant - Edit

This place is my favorite restaurant. Great sandwiches and specials and of course desserts!

Pros: Great Food, Nice decor, Great Food

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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

1 Response
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kindlizard 21 Nov 2008 - what is vegan radio? details!!  

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