Back in January, I wrote about a new vegan café that was coming to Elmwood Avenue. At the time, Root + Bloom Plant Based Café & Market was planning on opening up shop, by piggybacking on the back of Thinking Elvish Fantasy Chocolate, which occupied the store in front. Over the last few weeks, that’s exactly what has happened – the café took over the gazebo in back, and the rest is history. Ultimately, the husband and wife team of Sarah Sendlbeck and James Ernst has been so successful that they are now planning on expanding inside, taking over the indoor element of the operation (by taking over the chocolate shop’s lease).
It’s funny if you stop to think about it. Most restaurants start by opening indoors, and then expand outwards with a patio. Not Root + Bloom. They started on the gazebo of another business, and are now expanding inside. That’s an interesting way to go about it, if you ask me. And for this particular crew, it was the perfect way to go about it. They got to test out the market, without biting off more than they could chew. They also got a chance to get a feel for the neighborhood, grow their clientele, and bide their time until they were ready to expand into a year round operation.
James told me that while they were not thinking about making the move to a permanent year round space quite yet, but the opportunity did present itself in a perfect sort of way. In fact, he said that he and Sarah were in somewhat of a state of disbelief, per the incredible reception that they have received from Buffalo’s vegan and plant-based community. “We thought that it would be Sarah in the kitchen, with me and one or two other people working out front,” he explained. “But now we’re close to 20 employees, and the demand for the food keeps growing.
“We’re still open on the gazebo until the weather gets cold. Once we move inside, we will have seating for 36 people. We will also be open six days a week at that point in time, probably mid-fall. There will be a full coffee bar, and we’ve applied for our beer and wine license. We will continue to do the seasonal menus – it appears that Buffalo was desperately waiting for this sort of high quality, really good food that just happens to be vegan and plant based. So far, the support from the community has been overwhelming. We’re very thankful to the Buffalo community – we never knew vegan food would be in such high demand.”
You can follow Root + Bloom on social media, and browse their hours on their website. The café can be accessed through an alleyway to the right of the storefront – there is a gazebo in the back where a healthy and delicious world of food and drink awaits.