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One delicious bowl at a time

The patio is full outside Grounds and Greens. Great name, I think to myself. The window says Plant-Based Cafe. Harmeet and I go inside. The whole atmosphere feels warm and inviting. There are plants, of course, and inspirational words are elegantly displayed on the wall.

Things like “Foster Kindness” and “Open Minds”. We sit down and look at the menu. Some of the enticing Bowls being offered here are Rice Rice Baby. Influencer. Just Eggsquisite and Return of the Mac. Great names!

Grounds and Greens is not your average Vegan restaurant. It is completely unpretentious, but something about the details, well-thought-out décor and the menu lets you know you’re in for a treat. And we are not disappointed.

My friend Harmeet selected the Influencer, a salad with lentils, almond rice, roasted sweet potatoes, crispy tofu, snap peas, spinach, arugula salad, cilantro and pumpkin seed pesto, cherry tomatoes, parmesan and soy mayo.
He says with a smile that it was indeed, as delicious as it looked and sounded. I had the Return of the Mac, which had the most amazingly prepared mushrooms, truffle oil and a ‘to die for’ Béchamel based cheese sauce. So delicious. We complemented our lunches with delicious drinks: Chai Hard and Gold Digger; both were sensational.

If you’re into super highend comfort food, we recommend you visit this place; it gets our highest reviews! The entire experience was nourishing for the body and soul. Afterwards, we met with the chefs/owners and visionaries behind Grounds and Greens.

WE’RE THE KILFORD’S

A FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED CAFE BRINGING YOU NOTHING BUT VEGAN LOVE. WITH A COMBINED TOTAL OF OVER 35 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, WE PROVIDE OUR CUSTOMERS WITH JOY, QUALITY AND OF COURSE DELICIOUS HOME STYLE COOKING!

JOIN US FOR A CUP OF COFFEE, ONE OF OUR FAMOUS POWER BOWLS OR ONE OF OUR FEATURED SPECIALS.

Mannel Kilford is a flat-out charmer. She cut her teeth as a chef and businesswoman, working for the Cactus Club for many years. “Working for them was the perfect training ground to start my own business,” she says. “I was teaching people how to operate restaurants from the ground up for them, so starting my restaurant made perfect sense. I wanted to design a menu that was 100% plant-based, 100% healthy and 100% delicious”.

She met her husband Benjamin (who joined us later) while they were apprentices at the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Coincidentally they had both studied at Vancouver Community College. “We saw so much of each other at the restaurant that we had to either fall in love or hate each other… So we decided to fall in love.”

“We had been eating mostly vegan for about 13years. We made that choice after my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, and we explored a vegan diet as a way to help her fight the cancer.” “But of course, since we were both chefs, we had to taste the food we made. And a lot of the food we were making had meat.” “While on maternity leave, I was eating only vegan food, and I decided it would be a great idea to start my own restaurant. So one morning at 2 am, I couldn’t sleep and saw a Craigslist ad for a great shop location. It was quite cheap, but there were a ton of red flags. All my friends said don’t do it. They all said it was too big a risk. But I did it anyway. It was a huge leap of faith.”

They took over March 1, 2020, and by March 14th,the entire world and BC were shut down. They had to survive for several months on their savings. “On June 1st, we opened our doors to the public at 50% capacity. We invited all our friends and family, so the place looked popular. And pretty soon it was. It took a village to build this place, but within 3 to 4 weeks, we had gone from 6 staff to 12. We now have 14 staff members, including two salaried managers.”

By now, Benjamin has joined us. He is also a charmer. It’s easy to see why they are together. He tells us about the menu. “We are totally open to sharing our recipes. But once people see how much work goes into making each dish, they usually decide just to come here and let us do all the work.”
“I give all the credit to the Cactus Club Cafe for preparing me to open a successful business,” says Mannel. “And when I say a successful business, I mean that Benjamin and I were able to go on a trip to Paris for two weeks with our three-year-old son, and everything was fine when we returned. More than fine. We were still getting 5-star reviews.”

A sister company called Grounded has just started. It specializes in clothing and merchandise. The “Stay Grounded” cups on the table are adorable. “I feel it’s important to have a purpose,” says the effervescent chef with a big smile. “I have a plan.” “There’s a thing called Veganuary where people eat Vegan for one month. It’s starting to catch on, and the benefits for people’s health and the planet are enormous.”

Based on my initial experience at Grounds and Greens, I feel confident that their purpose and vision will succeed greatly. Mannel Kilford and her husband Benjamin are making the world a better and tastier place, one delicious bowl at a time.

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