Downtown Branford’s first vegan, organic sustainable restaurant, G-Zen, will open its doors for dinner tonight. Owners Mark (Chef) and Ami Beach Shadle who built a following in their hometown of Durham where their mobile vegetarian food truck Gmonkey toured the area, will finally have a brick and mortar location for their health-conscious foods.
G-Zen will take over where the former stood for just more than one year – the Suburban owners Suzette and Arturo Franco-Camacho have closed the upscale dining establishment and sold it to the Shadles in favor of opening neighboring restaurants .
We strolled by the restaurant this morning and peeked through the windows; the decor looks simple and soothing and despite the re-use of the Suburban tables, the space is now "G-Zened."
G-Zen's Facebook page reminds visitors that at the present, the restaurant is BYOB. Until they get their liquor license, they wrote on their wall, they'll be offering organic micro brewed sodas, root beer floats, coconut water and lattes.
As far as menu goes (see attached), the items are inventive and enticing.
For the fall, three gluten-free soups are offered including a broccoli tahini bisque.
All items are meat-free but the starter Thimble Island “Crab” Cakes features seasoned tempeh cakes over shredded field greens with house-made tarter sauce and fresh lemon in exchange for the more common shoreline crab cake.
There are small and large salads which feature traditional options like the cesar and more exotic creations like spanakopita and spinach salad.
There’s a burger on the menu but swap the beef for black beans and chipotle and when it comes to the main entrées, get ready to think way outside the box.
G-Zen not only offers organic, sustainable and vegan, they even have a raw foods dish on the menu; raw pasta with a cashew crème alfredo featuring tri-colored pasta made from carrot, beet and zucchini slices with a raw nut-based alfredo sauce.
The initial business hours for their soft opening starting tonight will be Tuesday through Saturday, 3 to 9 p.m. for dinner and take-out. Reservations are highly recommended.
So what is G-Zen? Their menu states, “G: Stands for our green business ethics and eco-conscious cuisine. Zen: living mindfully. To be in a state of peace and balance in one’s body.”
The Shadles message to diners:
Everything on the menu from the drinks to the desserts is nourishing for the body and sourced from plant-based* ingredients. We pride ourselves in our ability to create amazingly fresh delicious, eco-inspired cuisine, that promises to never be boring to the palette yet soothing to the soul –bringing us back to a place of harmony or Zen.
Our food is healthy for humans & the planet as a whole. We hope you enjoy you experience.
In good health,
Chef Mark Shadle & Ami Beach Shadle
Stay with Branford Patch for more details on the restaurant in the coming weeks.
CT Now’s Leeanne Griffin writes about G-Zen and what to expect in her column A La Carte.