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Dining with Nancy at Vitality

I am a proud farm kid. I was raised on a diversified farm with corn, soybeans, and beef cattle in a small rural farm town in Northwest Missouri. As a child I spent far more time with cows, horses and dogs than my human friends – which may seem incredibly apparent today. After 18 years of moving cows between pastures, hauling hay, and loading bean drills, I simply couldn’t wait to leave. I headed as quickly as possible to Mizzou to do important things – watch cable television, take naps, have dates with boys I hadn’t known my entire life, and eat anything other than beef.  IMG_2251

I accomplished all those things, and more (both good and bad). As time passed, I began missing my steaks, meatloaves, and hamburgers. Perhaps, I inherited more from my mother than migraines. Perhaps, I am a carnivore too. I do well to balance my carnivorous predisposition with grains, vegetables and fruits and this week I excelled. Flanked in support by my fellow small town friend Tricia Workman, we challenged my farm roots and ventured into a vegan restaurant. Vitality – Vegan Lunch Café recently opened in Jefferson City. Tricia was not new to the eatery and was well equipped to assist this farm girl. I was excited to try something new and was not disappointed. With Thai collard wraps, neatloaf (no, that isn’t misspelled), and more – bring on the sampler platter!

The Place 

Vitality – Vegan Lunch Café is located at 700 East High Street, at the corner of LaFayette in downtown Jefferson City.  It is an intimate, eclectic space with seating for 22. It serves lunch every Tuesday – Friday from 11:00-2:00. On the second Saturday of each month, it hosts vegan dinner events including a seven-course gourmet meal and live music. Seating is limited so call early for your reservation (573.353.7438). Free street parking is available outside Vitality’s purple doors.

The People

Vara, the owner, provided our service. She hails from San Diego but re-rooted in Jefferson City to join her father. She is laid-back, yet extremely passionate about her restaurant, food, and patrons. It is obvious how much thought and preparation goes into Vitality’s menu. Thanks Vara for walking this carnivore through the menu and assisting with our selections!

The Product IMG_3766

Vitality strives to use local seasonal produce, when available. From its bread, dressings, ice creams, to pickles, much of the food is made from scratch daily. Accordingly, the menu changes as growing seasons change from summer salads to cool-season crops. Among Vitality’s selections of soups, salads, and entrees, Tricia selected the Quinoa burger with roasted winter vegetables and I ordered the sampler platter…a challenge for a girl who prefers to eat one thing at a time. It was no challenge; however, to enjoy all that I sampled especially the Thai collard wraps with pineapple and cilantro. Fantastic!

The Price 

Prices vary from $6.00 – $13.00 and the food is well worth it. We left feeling extremely satisfied but neither heavy nor weighed down. For a full listing of everything Vitality offers including menu options, food tutorials, workshops and cooking classes, use the following link:

The Pizzazz 

Being farmer-proud, my vegan experience delivered far more than I expected. Complementing great company, delicious cabbage, warm soup, and collard wraps about which I cannot stop thinking, a learned a great deal. So…what do a vegan and a carnivore have in common? A love for farmers. We many express it differently, but ultimately share a mutual respect and appreciation for people that work day-in and day-out to feed us. Vara, thanks for teaching me that important lesson.