Dining out in Maine can be a challenge when you’re vegan sometimes. In Portland, Silly’s, Green Elephant and Local Sprouts offer vegan options, but if you’re looking for a restaurant serving nothing but plant-based food, the options are limited.
The Olive Branch just finished a facelift and it’s safe to say, they are keeping busy. “Business has picked up dramatically since the remodel in the fall,” said Director Tony Cuffori. “It is now a cafe style restaurant that features around 25 dishes where our goal is to prepare the food for customers in 20 minutes or less.”
The all vegan menu includes veggie burgers, pizza with non-dairy cheese and some mock-meat dishes. “The vegans that come in just love it,” claimed Cuffori. “But we have a lot of non-vegans come in as well. They are really surprised how good the food is.”
Next up was a quesadilla. Inside of the tortillas were red onions, broccoli, vegan sour cream, non-dairy cheese, guacamole, and salsa. It is one of the most popular menu items and tough to tell it’s vegan.
I also tried something called a haystack. It’s kind of like ordering nachos. The ingredients included organic corn chips, chili, cheese sauce made with cashews, tomatoes, lettuce and red onions all piled up together. It was kind of messy, but well worth using about 7 napkins.
The Olive Branch is run by the the local Seventh-day Adventists. Because the restaurant is non-profit, around 90% percent of the workers are volunteers. They’re only open for lunch Sunday through Thursday 11am – 3pm and Fridays 11am – 2pm. That keeps the evenings open so they can offer special cooking classes and health lectures.
I made the drive from Portland to Lewiston and back and to say it was well worth it would be an understatement. When it comes to delicious and healthy food, The Olive Branch is a diamond in the rough for vegans and non-vegans. Just ask customers or director Tony Cuffori. “We want to show that eating healthy can taste great too.”
Check out the menu. Here is a link