Winner of the 2012 Pennsyltucky Veggie Award for Best Vegetarian Restaurant is, Gaia Fresh Food Cafe in Carlisle. Gaia is more than its food menu. It is just as it claims, being a “warm comfortable community space to encourage joy and wellbeing.”
Open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday and closed Sunday., the café is a spruced up two-story house at 57 W. Pomfret St. in Carlisle. The bright and cheerfully painted exterior is but a hint of the color you will see inside. The colorful interior walls are background to some local artwork that is for sale. Just after the entry hall, the open kitchen will greet you with its menu boards written in luminous chalk.
The limited but satisfying menu is all vegetarian and almost all of the ingredients are raw. Fruit smoothies are created with fresh frozen fruits and no added sugar. The menu includes options like Thai Marinated Cucumbers with mangoes and scallions or Brown Rice with Capers, parsley, basil and cilantro mixed with lemon juice and olive oil that can be to be enjoyed as salads, wraps or on a pita. Gaia has coffee, tea, wheatgrass shots and nibbles like some amazing hummus or black olive tapenade with crackers. All menu items are very modestly priced.
Amicable owner George Catselis will make you feel like a long-lost friend as he serves up meals and snacks that are focused on being fresh and healthy. He was kind enough to show us that Gaia Fresh Food Cafe also has a maze of other common rooms. Study and meeting rooms, a family room created for parents with small children, an outdoor patio and even a meditation room.
Free Wifi in the dining area and many of the other common rooms may be slow but the charm of the staff and well-chosen ingredients of the flavorful foods will fill your every moment. Gaia Fresh Food Cafe, open since June 2011, has been a welcome addition to our region. Check out what they have to offer by visiting their Facebook page or give a call and place your order ahead of time at 717-386-5323.
We will dearly miss Jayyid Harvest at its cute corner spot on Second Avenue in Harrisburg. It was the 2011 Pennsyltucky Veggie Award – Best Vegetarian Restaurant and our region’s only other strictly vegetarian restaurant but we are thrilled to recognize, support and enjoy Gaia Fresh Food Cafe as Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards 2012 – Best Vegetarian Restaurant.
Have you discovered another strictly vegetarian or vegan restaurant in Pennsyltucky? Good golly don’t keep it to yourself and let it be in the running for 2013! If it’s in central PA (see map here) let me know and I will include it in the judging next year! Drop me, Pennsyltucky Veggie, a line or feel free to leave a comment!