How many people miss going out to eat besides me? I miss going to a cafe on Saturday, getting an oat milk latte in my to-go mug, and being productive. I miss trying new restaurants. I miss meeting people for lunch. I basically just miss pre-COVID life!
Even though it’s harder to do some of those things, I am trying hard to support some of my favorite small restaurants when I can. I am eating out less but when I do eat out, I’m thinking small.
Last year, before COVID shut everything down, I had planned to highlight small businesses that were practicing low-waste, sustainable and/or eco-friendly practices. As vaccines start rolling out and the world *fingers crossed* is getting closer to opening up, I wanted to return to this series in hopes of encouraging you to try small businesses near you and to shop small when you can.
This week, I’m featuring Heirloom Cafe in Danielson, Connecticut. Moving away from Boston and all their vegan/vegetarian eateries definitely had me worried but Heirloom has been my go to place when I want to treat myself.
Heirloom is a cafe with a small menu that includes an excellent selection of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes. Currently, they offer sandwiches, salads/bowls and smoothies. They also have a decent variety of homemade gluten-free and vegan treats like cupcakes, oatmeal cream pies and samoa bars. They have paired down their menu a bit during COVID times, eliminating coffee/cafe options and breakfasts, but their menu still contains some favorites and offers a selection. They also have specials each week which are always amazing. Valentines week they offered a vegan, gluten free cheesecake with fresh strawberry puree swirled in it and it was so yummy!
In addition to serving a wide range of foods that I can actually eat (anyone with a dietary restriction know the feeling of only having one thing to eat on a menu), Heirloom also does it’s best to source organic ingredients (between 85-90% of their ingredients are organic) and to source local ingredients. They have tofu from Middletown, CT, maple syrup and honey from Woodstock, CT, cheese from Vermont and more.
So far, I have tried their vegan breakfast sandwich, the Miso Roasted Beet and Kale bowl (which I may try and replicate as one of my meal preps one of these days), the Buddha bowl, the curry mock chicken wrap, as well as a few sweet treats like the samoa bar, the oatmeal cream pie and a cupcake. The curry mock chicken, which is found on both the wrap and the Buddha Bowl, is one of my favorite things on the menu. All the desserts have been delicious, though the oatmeal cream pie is VERY sweet so heads up if you aren’t a big sweets eater. Everything has been really fresh and loaded with flavor. The bread on the vegan sandwich was out of this world. No matter what you order, I don’t think you can go wrong.
When I ate here pre-COVID, I always received real plates and utensils and they filled my reusable coffee mug. Currently, they offer curbside pickup where you order everything on line and it is brought to your car. They serve the food with no additional plastic utensils, in a plastic, recyclable container and a recyclable, brown paper bag. Obviously, these options are less sustainable but, to me, continuing to support a small vegan restaurant that does their part to support local produce and local companies is very important to me. I’ll create a little trash in this moment to keep this restaurant going, knowing I’m doing my best to reduce waste in other areas.
What are some small businesses that you know about who are showing love for the planet. Leave suggestions here for me to checkout.