A new healthy and eco-friendly cafe opened in DeLand March 25 at 589 E. International Speedway Blvd.
The restaurant’s small spot adjacent to DeLand Boxing & Fitness was occupied until recently by Beeatroot juice company, which moved onto Artisan Alley in Downtown DeLand.
DeLand Boxing owner Trevor Cedar offered the vacant space to husband and wife Derek and Kristy Bartholomew and their partner Chris Pearson, to house their cafe devoted to healthful food options loaded with herbs.
All involved are friends and frequent customers of Skydive DeLand on the DeLand Municipal Airport nearby. They are active free-falling free spirits who want to promote healthful food, and also deliver an educational gardening experience.
The trio of equal owners are also the only employees now of the eight-seat cafe.
“We’ve done a lot of traveling to Europe and other countries, from which we took health-conscious-food ideas and decided to bring them to DeLand,” Kristy Bartholomew said.
Derek and Kristy moved to DeLand from Allentown, Pennsylvania, to be closer to family. Chris Pearson ended up in DeLand more randomly.
The location is interesting, as the peaceful cafe is tucked between the fitness center on the west and an outside boxing ring.
The logo shows a plant growing between the words “The” and “Garden,” with roots producing growth upward into a blossoming plant with a fork as the flower. The front of the cafe is decorated with herbs and other food plants that are used in the food.
Inside is a small bar built of stone showcasing plenty of healthful teas. There are hanging ferns, a quirky chandelier, a wall covered in foliage and a window overlooking International Speedway Boulevard that’s decorated with more plants and succulents on the sill.
“All renovations were done by the three of us,” Kristy said.
The giant menu board on the wall lists the health-conscious options, including breakfast served all day and lunch selections starting at 10 a.m.
For breakfast, The Garden offers a variety of types of toast, including the popular avocado toast, along with berry toast, Southwest toast and Thai toast, which has chunky peanut butter, honey Sriracha, peanuts and cilantro greens.
The Garden has four yogurt bowls all filled with fruits. The standout is the Berry Hemp Bowl, which is loaded with blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, acai and hempseed.
This was the first time I had seen a menu offering muesli, a cold breakfast cereal popular in Sweden and Germany that combines rolled oats, grains, nuts, seeds and fresh or dried fruits.
The Garden also offers parfaits and espresso concoctions, and all the breakfast options cost far less than $10.
I visited for lunch and tried one of their smoothies to start. My choices were regular or vegan, and I selected the acai-blueberry flavor, which was creamy, fruity and satisfying. You can upgrade your smoothie by adding chai, flax, matcha, hemp, whey protein, vegan protein and even CBD oil from the local Asha’s Elixirs.
“Chris is our smoothie guru,” Kristy said.
All the cups and utensils are compostable and made of corn, and are allergy-safe. The water my guest ordered had a beautiful violet-and-white orchid floating on top.
With each drink, The Garden gives customers a small ramekin filled with wildflower seeds. Customers are taught how to grow the seeds in the compostable cup after the drink is finished.
The Garden offers six regular sandwiches and wraps. I chose the namesake Garden Wrap, which is stuffed full of zucchini, peppers, carrots, avocado, spinach, sprouts, onion, tomato and a coconut green curry sauce, folded into a spinach tortilla.
This was loaded with flavor and had a nice heat coming through with the curry sauce. It was served with a side of fresh fruit.
The Garden does offer options for carnivores, but I decided to stick to veggies for the day.
There are three bowls and four salads. I chose the Quinoa Berry Salad built with kale, quinoa, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, basil, almonds and feta, dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.
I found this to be a fresh and perfect combination of flavors with the bitterness of kale, the sweetness of the fruit, and the pungency of the feta.
“Almost everything served from this cafe is local and fresh, including the CBD oil, a concept we are proud to represent,” Kristy said.
The Garden is an eco-evolutionary-style cafe with an educational experience and the positive mindset to promote health and protect the environment.
It’s a definite must-try for those trying to live a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing flavor.