By Sarah Willis
Photos: Courtesy of Karma Road
When you walk inside, there’s a lot of activity in a small space. A big counter meets you, which has four bar stools on the far side of it, offering a nice perspective of the action. There’s a case of vegan baked goods—cakes, Rice Krispie bars, cookies, homemade granola and other treats.
Make a note to save room for that. Seth, one of the owners, proudly says they named the chocolate cake “Oh My God Chocolate Cake” because everyone always says “oh my God” when they take a bite. (It’s true!)
Beside the counter is a deli case filled with more than a dozen vegan dishes, including a shockingly good gluten-free square of pizza. Menus of juices and smoothies hang on the wall, cute photos of rescued animals adorn the tabletops and there’s an outdoor patio.
Seth and his crew offered me a plate with a sampling of his tasty, super healthy (yes, these words go together) dishes. The majority of the fare is gluten-free in addition to being vegan. I got to taste roasted turmeric cauliflower, salted and cooked perfectly; a yummy sweet-potato roll textured with bits of walnuts, served with a buttery spread; bbq tempeh sticks drizzled in a savory peanut-ginger sauce; and Cajun-blackened tofu with steamed collard greens.
Seth loaded me up with granola and goodies to take home, including the OMG chocolate cake, which I barely got to taste, as my six-year-old housed three quarters of it quickly.
Karma Road feels nostalgic to me; it’s reminiscent of 1990s-era NYC, when I was a yoga teacher-trainee spending most of my time on Manhattan’s lower east side. There were only a few great pioneer vegan spots back then where we could refuel after hours of contorting our bodies. Since yoga tradition suggests a vegetarian lifestyle, or at least one that takes into consideration a moral obligation to abstain from causing suffering to other sentient beings, we sought out such places. By far the best was Angelica’s Kitchen. As it turns out, Seth and his wife and business partner, Jenn, who have owned and operated Karma Road for 12 successful years, used to cook at Angelica’s Kitchen back in the day. These lovely people are original gangsters in the vegan culinary movement, which has evolved greatly in the last two decades.
Karma Road is a terrific, totally unpretentious contribution. I didn’t have room to try everything, but that’s a new personal goal! For more information, visit www.karmaroad.net. █