The Olive Branch Café is the new face of The Ark
Tucked away amongst the empty shopping malls on the south side of Lewiston is a hidden gem, an oasis of health and healing. In 2013 The Ark, a small vegan café operating only three days a week, was opened with the noble ambition of providing delicious lunchtime meals to a population starving for lack of wholesome dining options. Now, after two years, word has spread and people from all across New England have come to see that eating healthy really does taste good!
Under a new management team, the building and menu have received a facelift, but the mission is still the same. “We are a faith based, grass roots movement dedicated to enriching the lives of others through building communities that are healthy and whole: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,” says new Director, Tony Cuffori. “To this end the Café is only open for lunch Sunday through Thursday 11am – 3pm, and Fridays 11am – 2pm, so that the evenings are free for Health Lectures, Cooking Classes, Bible Studies, and Herbal Remedy workshops. Being a non-profit, the money made from the restaurant, as well as donations from generous supporters, make it possible for most of our classes to be provided free of charge. Educating the community to make more informed choices is a big part of why we are here. We want to feed the whole person.”
Every plate tells a story. From Diabetes to Heart Disease, lifestyle changes, such as eating a whole-food plant based diet, offer a cure for many. Each member of the staff has a unique health journey of their own and are eager to help others in theirs. “You’re more than a customer to me, you’re a new friend,” says Kitchen Manager, Gina Knowles.
Pamela Jewett’s 16-year-old grandson, Connor, loves the Haystack – organic corn chips piled high with chili, cashew cheez, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, and salsa. Besides feeding her grandson, Pam is a frequent attender of the Cooking and Herb Classes and has found a new family in the Café staff and volunteers. “My daughter died from Diabetes. I’m determined my grandson isn’t going to suffer the same fate.”
Whether it’s the Cheezcake, Quesadilla, or the Chickless, each plate is free from GMO’s and is served with love. The entire staff is committed to serving wholesome food and a positive environment that nourishes the whole body.