Forget a keychain: Two Ohio State alumni brought back more than a souvenir after traveling the globe.
Lifestyle Cafe, a 100-percent plant-based eatery, opened its doors Jan. 18 in Columbus, Ohio’s Olde Towne East. Alumnae Shanna Dean, who graduated in 2001, and Dawn Dickson, who graduated in 2000, are two of the restaurant’s investors who noticed a lack of vegan options in the area compared to other regions, Dickson said.
“We would travel around the world, and the vegan food would be so good, and then we would come home and feel the food just wasn’t up to par,” Dickson said.
Dean, the restaurant’s executive chef, and Dickson are joined by remaining investors Mo Wright, Derrick Clay and Daniel Kennedy.
Dean said the group wants people who are curious about a plant-based lifestyle to understand that taste does not have to be compromised.
“With the growing popularity of vegan and vegetarian eating, we wanted to meet the need of people who are plant-based and do not want their food prepared alongside meat or dairy,” Dickson said in a news release.
Dean said her goal was for anyone with any dietary preference to come in and be satisfied.
“I love cooking for other people, but I wanted to be healthy. So I went to school to learn how to make healthy food taste good,” Dean said.
Dean, a personal chef and caterer who graduated from the culinary arts program at Columbus’ Bradford School, said she was hesitant at first to open her own restaurant, but Dickson encouraged her.
“I listened to my heart and said let’s do it,” Dean said.
The menu items are locally sourced and include foods such as sliders, smoothies, salads, soup, pastries, toast and Chef Bae specials — signature dishes crafted by Dean — according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.
The location was previously home to vegetarian restaurant The Angry Baker for nine years before it closed in July 2019. The group decided to take it over six months later.
“People already knew to come into this neighborhood for good vegetarian food, so it was a good opportunity to bring it back,” Dickson said.
Lifestyle Cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant is located at 891 Oak St.