Unless you’ve been hiding out in an abandoned Sears warehouse, you’ve probably noticed that healthy, ethical foods are having a moment in Canada.
Studies show that “33 percent of Canadians, or almost 12 million, are either vegan, vegetarian or are eating less meat.” It took a little while, but thankfully, the restaurant industry has begun to reflect these choices.
While there are no shortage of restaurants to choose from that have strictly vegan or vegetarian menus, the real MVPs in the food industry these days are taking it a step further by offering healthy alternatives along side millennial indulgences – think antioxidant infused cocktails.
District Eatery is one such MVP – their menu is full of healthy twists on classic bar favourites, such as vegan caesar salad, with the ability to modify most items no matter what your dietary preference or restriction. It’s been important from the start for owner Jesse Warfield to create a menu that reflects the “balanced lifestyle” many millennials lead, “I live a downtown lifestyle and I was finding options that were healthy or not at all. District Eatery fills the gap because it’s a place people can come to eat healthy or get a drink with friends, they don’t have to make a choice between health or fun. I wanted people to think differently about going out and I think we’ve hit that balance here”.
District Eatery’s Power Teas are a menu item that perfectly exemplify what the restaurant is doing to combine health with realistic millennial habits. Each cocktail combines alcohol with tea in order to pack in proteins, vitamins and minerals – while you work on your buzz. They are the brainchild of the in-house mixologist who modified a 300 year old British process of crafting the cocktail. These versions have been updated to include ingredients of the moment like agave. Bonus: they are all 100% vegan. “Obviously the alcohol isn’t healthy, but if you’re having one of our house made sodas instead of a Jack and Coke that’s going to be packed with tons of aspartame then that’s a great start”.
The genius come in taking classic bar menu items which are traditionally high in calories and packed with unhealthy fats and spinning them into healthy alternatives. For example, their Coconut Vegan Cheesecake is made in house, sweetened with maple syrup and served alongside homemade jam. “I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from vegans that come with their significant others who eat animal food prodcuts”. says Warfield. “They’re really happy because no one has to compromise”.
Since opening, they’ve gone through a few menu iterations to become even more vegan friendly by staying on the lookout for opportunities to innovate or make things themselves, such as recently investing in a juicer. “It has been a challenge but I think the end result has been great and the feedback has been really positive. We want to keep innovating without sacrificing taste”.
A guilt-free night out drinking and eating cheesecake is something we can definitely get behind.