Rave Organics provides a tasty new option

“It’s bouje.” A popular statement I hear when it comes to vegan and organic food. “It’s doesn’t taste like anything.” “Why would you go to a restaurant for that?”

Well, that is exactly what I did.  

On April 18, Rave Organics Cafe opened next door to the Walmart in Newbury Park, finally revealing what was behind the brown butcher paper covering the windows for the last year. They are not 100% vegan, but they are 100% organic and tout a very large menu of appetizing options. Maybe this restaurant will help make Newbury Park aware of the fact that the concept of eating natural food should not be labeled as just another health craze; it is the way humans are supposed to eat.

Pushing through the glass doors, I was immediately met by calming, neutral gray tones and swirly, cream-colored light fixtures. But, while the ambience was very inviting, the frozen yogurt machines in the corner were not, and combined with the noise of the blenders behind the counter, the white noise was abundant.

At the cashier’s counter, we looked at an extensive menu, with options ranging from smoothies to salad to paninis. Naturally, I ordered one of each (don’t worry, I did not eat all of this on my own). I had high expectations for my Green Monster Smoothie, Vegan Pesto Panini and Chicken Shawarma and Apple Salad.

Tucked against the back wall was a set of wooden stairs leading up to a little mezzanine, home to a television softly playing a kid’s show, and an aquarium containing shrimp, Nemo fish and other aquatic animals. Somehow, both of these quirky pieces fit with the natural wood aesthetic, and I felt like I could sit up there for hours.

After a short wait (perhaps five to ten minutes), the cashier carried our food to us: a bright green smoothie, a large, compostable container of salad and a thick panini marked with deep grill marks. I was so excited to dig in, I didn’t even realize they messed up my order.

I took a warm, crunchy, garlic-pesto-y bite of my panini, savoring each layer of the sandwich, until I tasted something that definitely should not have been there: chicken. Thankfully, I am not vegan, so this was not a terrible problem, but I can imagine how upset I would be if I actually was. However, since I did not want to waste a perfectly tasty sandwich (I’m not vegetarian either), I decided to just eat it.

On the other hand, the salad was delicious, with perfectly seasoned chicken, creamy feta cheese and crunchy apples and lettuce. My only complaint there was that they served it with a very dull, wooden fork– not the best utensil for salad. The smoothie lived up to its luscious color, being refreshing and sweet, but for me, it tasted too strongly of bananas, and was not worth the $10 I spent on it.

All of the staff were very friendly, even trekking up the stairs twice to check on us. After telling them about my order kerfuffle, they apologized profusely, offering to make me another sandwich and giving us free frozen yogurt.

If you come to Rave Organics, you have to get the frozen yogurt. Not only is each flavor made with organic ingredients, some are even vegan, and all were delicious. By far, the chocolate was my favorite, the best chocolate frozen yogurt I have ever had, perfectly creamy, rich and not too sweet. Their topping bar, conversely, was very underwhelming.

I came for good vegan and organic food, and while what I got was not vegan and it was a little pricey, it fulfilled two of the other requirements. And I have to cut them some slack, the restaurant just opened.

Unfortunately, this was not the revolutionary restaurant that I was waiting for, but they offered tasty options that could appeal to anyone. The atmosphere is perfect for hanging out with friends, and the philosophy is something everyone can get behind. Everyone should get a taste of eating real, natural food.

So try the new cafe; you just might find it Rave-able.

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