When Lotus Organic Restaurant, Bar and Bakery closed Oct. 27, owner Amy Young had regulars champing at the bit waiting for its return. On Dec. 15 Young opened the doors to the brand new space at 140 N. Cache St. to hungry and thirsty customers.
“We had outgrown the old space in so many ways,” Young said. The new location came out of a lease ending, but the expansion and progression are welcomed. “I knew that it was going to be a big undertaking,” Young said of transforming the new space. “But I just knew that’s where it was going to be.”
The old location on Glenwood Street had a capacity of 52. The new one can accommodate 120 people. It has two levels, an outdoor seating area, two bars and room for private events. There’s a new beverage program and accompanying happy hour, and there are plans to host late-night music and menu items.
“It is very different from the old Lotus,” Young said. “It was kind of like the small little hippy cafe over there.”
While some of the regulars miss the old space because of its tucked-away location and coziness, Young assured that the foundations of Lotus are still in the new spot. “This has evolved into something more chic,” she said. “But it’s very important to me that Lotus is always a really comfortable place, where it feels casual yet beautiful and light at the same time.” Even the design and structure of the building is uniquely Lotus.
Crystals were built into the walls to balance the energy of the space, and essential oils were added to the paint. Small finishing touches can be noticed throughout the restaurant. “The goal is to nourish people not only on a nutritional level but on an energetic level as well.
To-go orders were popular at the old space, Young said, and have their own space now. The small cafe window at the entrance will have pastries to easily grab and go, as well as a full coffee bar and cold-pressed juices and smoothies. “That has its own little department and space now,” Young said.
The restaurant opens at 8 a.m. to serve breakfast and will stay open throughout the day for lunch and dinner. For breakfast you can order an egg scramble with quinoa and baby kale, breakfast tacos, omelets and waffles.
The lunch menu includes vegan and bison burgers, a falafel pita, Reuben and bahn mi. The choices also include big bowls of Vietnamese pho, Thai green curry and a variety of salad options.
The dinner menu boasts a “shareables” section with Indian samosas, spring rolls and a plantain torte. Ten-inch pizzas are available with different toppings. The main entrees vary from elk lasagna to Moroccan zucchini boats and black tea halibut.
“We kind of elevated our offerings,” Young said, “but I’m still in the process of trying to find the perfect balance to have a really well rounded menu — between refined dishes versus some of the more casual dishes.” Most dishes have gluten-free, vegan and soy-free options. All dishes are organic but not necessarily vegetarian or vegan. It’s a common misconception, Young said.
“I hope people know that we are more than that,” Young said. “We have something for everyone.”
Young likes to think of Lotus as more than just a restaurant. It’s more like a wellness center disguised as a restaurant, she said. And there’s no doubt in her mind that her purpose was to open Lotus and maintain its vision and foundation.
“I can honestly say this is what I’ve been working towards and working for,” she said, “the fact that we’re here now, I think my mind is still catching up to it.”