Café Gratitude spins vegan eats into classic comfort foods like meatloaf and cheesy nachos, named with kitschy “I AM” statements. Here are some alternative aphorisms that may better suit the dining experience.
I AM INCONVENIENT: Café Gratitude was nearly empty when my daughter and I arrived for lunch. After waiting several minutes to be acknowledged by the staff, I approached the manager for a table, only to be brusquely deferred to the hostess.
I AM COMPENSATING: We were seated at the back of the dining room nearest the kitchen. The manager, now our server, stood behind me and told us the specials in an overly friendly manner. Contorted awkwardly to see her, I marveled at her sweet-n-sour demeanor as she poured us water from a bottle etched with the word “love.”
I AM HONEST: Seated with us were two women and a toddler, which designated ours “the kiddie table.” Their conversation was far from family-friendly, however. “I’m really not that into him,” turned into, “We f**ked last night” and so forth. Perhaps, “I AM UNSURE” spring rolls would have been more apropos on the menu than “I AM FULFILLED” salad.
I AM HUNGRY: After a long wait, my food arrived. This food was so good it could’ve sold itself. I had no need to declare, “I AM GROUNDED” to feel the wholesomeness of my potatoes or their soothing effect on my disposition.
I AM UNSUSTAINABLE: Condiments were served in plastic cups, and leftovers were packaged in waxed boxes. An excessive amount of paper products, complete with a custom-printed bag, were used to send me home with a small bed of lettuce and tubers.
I AM EXPENSIVE: Café Gratitude’s bottom line arrived with the bill. While Gratitude offered seasonal food with extraordinary flavor, I spent double what I would have at a conventional restaurant. Next time, I AM EATING ELSEWHERE.
Location: 1730 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709
Hours of Operation: Lunch and Dinner: 10 am to 10 pm, I AM OPEN Juice Bar and Breakfast: 10 am to 11 am.