By Daniela Marin | July 9, 2015
Tucked away in the heart of Orlando along the Mills 50 district of downtown stands a green 1920s-styled house, neighboring several holistic businesses along Thornton Avenue.
Dandelion Communitea Café is an organic and eco-friendly eatery that has been offering vegan and vegetarian fare, as well as premium loose-leaf tea, since its opening in 2007.
“Dandelion is very unique because from the very beginning, we’ve had a very strict policy on sourcing food that is organic, getting things as local as possible and, even as far as our disposable containers, getting things that are already recycled or are recyclable,” said Justin Tighe, a former UCF student who works at Dandelion.
Sticking to those food philosophies hasn’t always been easy, though. After eight years of serving Orlando customers, Dandelion Café has experienced the growth of local businesses in its surrounding areas.
“When Dandelion first opened, there wasn’t a lot of local business infrastructure,” Tighe said. “I’ve seen it really kind of rise out of nowhere. It’s been a lot of grassroots, purposeful local initiatives for small businesses, so now we do have farm-to-restaurant suppliers that did not exist before.”
Owner and co-founder Chris Blanc said the restaurant has been able to better incorporate local foods into its menu over time.
“We’re definitely more local now than when we started,” he said. “As more restaurants come on board, it’s a lot easier for the local farmers because they have more clients.”
The growth has allowed Dandelion to continue serving local food at reasonable prices. On Mondays, customers can enjoy $5 Giddy Up bowls or wraps that include tempeh chili topped with blue corn chips, diced tomatoes and scallions served with vegan queso.
To continue reading this article, please click on the link below: