Ridge Hospital (Paradise CA) Opens Vegan Restaurant

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Ridge Hospital (Paradise CA) Opens Vegan Restaurant

By Larry Mitchell on Chicoer.com
May 2010

The reason for serving vegan food is that increasing evidence shows it to be the healthiest, Mautz said. "We find countries that live on a plant-based diet don't have diabetes and overweight."

Garden Fresh Bistro, a restaurant recently opened by Feather River Hospital, has it all, according to Rick Mautz, director of the hospital's wellness center.

It's got healthy and delicious food, some local history (it's in the hospital's original building), and it boasts a wonderful view of the Feather River Canyon, he said.

At this restaurant, the emphasis is on healthy eating. Garden Fresh Bistro has a menu that is completely vegan: no animal products are used.

Mautz said he got the idea for the restaurant after encountering so many people who knew they needed a better diet but said they didn't have time to cook healthy food.

"I wanted to take away their excuse," he said. "I thought if I could have people taste food that is healthy and tastes good, it would catch on."

So far, it has been catching on, he said. The original goal was to break even after six months. Now, it's been 21Ú2 months since opening, and the restaurant is almost breaking even.

About half the clientele is from the community and half is hospital employees, he said.

The restaurant is open for lunch, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. Plans are to start serving breakfast soon and also to sell smoothies after lunch.

Garden Fresh Bistro offers one kind of soup and one entree each day. The entrees, at $6.75, include such things as Asian stir fry, lasagna, enchiladas and pot pies.

A variety of sandwiches and wraps are available every day. Sandwiches are $5.50 and wraps are $5.25. Food is available to take out.

The reason for serving vegan food is that increasing evidence shows it to be the healthiest, Mautz said. "We find countries that live on a plant-based diet don't have diabetes and overweight."

A key to the restaurant's success was hiring a talented chef, Ira Poritzky, he said. "He works the magic."