Why This Plant-Based Café Went Virtual in ‘One More Pandemic Pivot'

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In September, the plant-based cafe and market Recipe Oak Cliff temporarily closed its doors to the public, in what owner Tisha Crear called “one more pandemic pivot.” 

“This, I thought, is supposed to be our big lifetime opportunity to reimagine everything.”

Ten days of no revenue certainly poses a risk for the small juice bar. But it’s a strategic risk that Crear hopes will bear fruit in the weeks and months to come.

A break from kitchen operations meant more time to focus on the future, which for Recipe will now include a slate of online classes and workshops. 

Offerings include an introduction to raw and live vegan food or food that hasn’t been cooked above 118 degrees and might be richer in certain nutrients as a result. Series like “Bless Your Cup” will focus on recipes for juice, smoothies, and tea. 

According to Nielsen, sales of fresh fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods have been growing at double-digit rates for the past two years. Still, most surveys count vegans as somewhere between just 2 to 6 percent of the U.S. population. 

But Crear’s classes aren’t just for vegans; they’re for everyone who wants to eat healthily. And teaching online means her reach is no longer confined to Dallas locals or tourists. As the winter season approaches, she’s hoping that her clientele will grow as people seek out immune-boosting nutrition.

Crear’s overarching mission will always be to help her community participate in its own development. The pandemic, she said, was a jolt to create the world we want to see.

“You know, the beautiful one. The beautiful world we want to see.”

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