Manager/server Adam Lanfear had worked at a popular restaurant on the wharf, but was laid off during the pandemic. After a few months, Lanfear ended up at Café Gratitude. The downtown spot—100% vegan with an entirely plant-based menu made up of primarily local organic ingredients—is filled with cool art and laid-back vibes that pair well with the friendly service. Lanfear explains that the names of the dishes on Gratitude’s menu are as thoughtful as the food itself, such as the buffalo-sauce-tossed “Daring Cauliflower Wings” and the fried “Magical Mushrooms.” His personal favorite is the “Amore,” a Caprese-loaded sandwich. And the desserts, beginning with fresh vegan cheesecake available in different flavors, don’t disappoint. Café Gratitude is open every day, 11am-9pm, for indoor and outdoor dining and takeout. After the pandemic layoff, Lanfear feels like there isn’t a better name for the restaurant where he landed. He recently spoke to GT about his appreciation for Gratitude and why he opts for a plant-based diet.
Why did you choose to switch to a plant-based diet?
ADAM LANFEAR: I used to eat a lot of meat; I grew up in New York and worked at a lot of pizza places and ate a lot of fried, delicious and greasy food. When I came out to California to attend college, I started becoming aware of all the environmental detriments of eating meat. I slowly, over the next six years, started phasing out meats and cheeses and have now been plant-based for three years. It relieved a lot of my eco-guilt, and it’s helped me feel a lot better physically and sharper mentally.
Why are you grateful to work at Café Gratitude?
My grocery bill has gone down because I can eat everything on the menu, which I really appreciate. And also, as a queer person, I’m grateful to work at such a safe space that’s so comfortable and accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community. I find these spaces very valuable in Santa Cruz, and it’s not often that you find a place that also has such great food. I’m also happy that things are slowly returning to normal after the pandemic, or whatever normal is these days.
103 Lincoln St., Santa Cruz, 831-427-9583; cafegsc.com.