Just because vegans like to eat plants and live clean doesn't mean they don't crave comfort food. EVERYONE loves a creamy soup and a hearty mac 'n cheese every now and again. And why can't these foodie faves be delicious and good for you?
Enter Clovermint Café & Market, a vegan, gluten-free spot coming soon to Fort Lauderdale. The new eatery will offer up sandwiches, salads, soups, and other plant-based comfort foods and healthy grub -- plus vegan beer, wine and plenty of items to stock your kitchen cabinets.
The market section of the establishment will offer bulk item ordering, plus gluten free breads, vegan cheeses, and desserts. They'll also have an on-site juice bar.
"I wanted to create a complete vegan and gluten-free menu that is full of whole, intact, and recognizable ingredients, where mind boggling things like preservatives, GMOs, and chemicals aren't a factor, and where people who are trying to change their lives through food will have a place to go to enjoy themselves while doing so. Wholly good in food and experience," says Clovermint founder Ann Nacknouck.
Nacknouck was inspired by her own health challenges, as well as those of her family.
"The inspiration for Clovermint was kind of unceremonious, but ultimately serendipitous and so gracious, as life tends to be. For six years, I suffered with debilitating health issues that seemed undiagnosable," she explains.
"I worked with food and lifestyle changes the whole time until I found the right mix and began to improve, particularly once I began working with a local detox specialist and acupuncture doctor, Rosanne Calabrese."
Her dad was also diagnosed with cancer, but has been doing extremely well through a mix of conventional treatment plus lifestyle changes, including a completely vegan and sugar free diet, she says.
In addition to the mission behind Clovermint, Nacknouck was also concerned with creating the right atmosphere.
"Clovermint has a lounge-y, café vibe that can translate to very cozy, almost romantic, at night. Lots of vintage pieces, a thoughtfully decorated bar, interesting lighting creating a warm ambiance with a touch of modernity," Nacknouck adds.
As far as menu items, Clovermint will run the gamut, incorporating lots of foodstuffs from Nacknouck's experience in vegan catering and personal cooking.
"There will be items from my heritage that I grew up eating and making like our family recipe for tabouli, eggplant parmesan, and our house dressing which is actually a dressing my dad has been making for our family for years -- a very simple lemon-mint one that everyone who visits our house for dinner has loved," she explains.
They'll also have mac 'n' cheese, a reuben sandwich on house baked bread, potato salad, plus "cheat" items like raw marble brownie cheesecake, vegan, and gluten free cakes, donuts, pastries -- all with no refined sugar.
All in all, Nacknouck hopes to create vegan food that people crave and are satisfied by, without any abuse or negativity.
"You will never find a pushy or judgmental sentiment about these beliefs in Clovermint, if you find any at all," she says. "If you do, it will only be those of welcoming encouragement, and meeting people where they're at on their personal journeys. I prefer to let the food do the talking."
Clovermint will be located at 3433 Griffin Rd. in Fort Lauderdale. They plan to hold a soft opening over the holidays, and open officially in January of 2015. You can follow them on Facebook.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.