Buffalo’s first plant based café and market will be coming to Elmwood this Summer. Root + Bloom will be opening at the gazebo behind Thinking Elvish Fantasy Chocolate – 423 Elmwood Avenue. Anyone that is familiar with the eateries that have occupied this space, is aware of the potential that this sizable gazebo possesses. During the warmer months, this is an oasis just off Elmwood, that has not been utilized for years.
Husband and wife team of Sarah Sendlbeck and James Ernst will be opening Root + Bloom, which they say is the city’s first plant based café and market. “Buffalo currently has no fully plant based, vegan restaurants, unlike sister cities such as Rochester, Syracuse and Albany offering multiple options,” explained the couple. “While Buffalo’s options continue to expand and inspire, we feel its time to finally have a café that is fully vegan, and the community is demanding it.”
According to Sarah and James, the goal of the café is to work in tandem with Thinking Elvish Fantasy Chocolate, which has been in operation at 423 Elmwood since September of 2016. In that relatively short period of time, the vegan-based chocolate shop has made a name for itself in Buffalo. Now, the concept is to tag team with the boutique chocolatier, to round out the vegan offerings.
“We’re a wife and husband team that is making our return to our hometown to open the very first fully plant based café (and market) in the area,” said Sarah and James. “In addition to the café offerings, we will also be selling market items such as cultured cashew yogurt and cream cheese made locally, heirloom einkorn (the world’s most ancient wheat) bread and scones, English breakfast platter, krauts and other fermented products, fresh orange juice, smoothies, and locally roasted coffee. We’re thrilled to finally answer the demands of the Buffalo vegan community and hope this summer will be a great success.”
After graduating from college, the Buffalo couple set out to live in cities such as Boston and LA – places that are very vegan friendly, they say. Then they moved back to Buffalo in 2016, with daughter in tow, which is when they began hosting vegan pop-up dinners. The dinners, called Improveg (improv and veg), proved to be an amazing success. Through their traveling romps, the pop-up dinners, and James’s experience working for a vegan cheese shop in LA, together they learned enough about the vegan lifestyle to formulate a business plan on their own. Now, the final part of the plan is to open the café and market at the gazebo, in hopes of eventually finding their own space.
So… Buffalo… if you want to see this couple hit their strides in Buffalo, then you better get ready to support their dreams this summer. If we all lend a hand, we will assuredly see their aspirations take hold.
Just think of it. They have ditched a four hour commute in LA, to work on a spirited collaboration with Thinking Elvish – it’s a match made in heaven, especially for the vegan community. The gazebo will be “transformational in appearance”, with all sorts of kitschy decorations, along with lots of plants – perfect for attending a dinner featuring whole roasted cauliflower (served florets) hand-rubbed with Cajun sauce and caramelized with maple syrup, and mushroom vegan chorizo mac and cheese. Or maybe you might stop in for brunch to sample a BBQ jackfruit, or jalapeño corncakes?
Currently Sarah and James have embarked upon a “grassroots fundraising initiative” in order to raise the necessary funding to get the vegan café and market off the ground. Their goal is to raise $5K (see here) through friends and family, which seems to be very “doable”. Once the funds are raised, they will continue to formulate their plans for a full weekend brunch menu, and dinner menu (vegan based). They will also be featuring an exciting vegan catering menu. “June 1st, 2018 will be our soft opening evening, with regular brunch and dinner hours beginning after,” they stated. Soon enough Buffalo. Soon enough.