The Grass Roots Bistro is Fernie’s newest, hippest vegetarian restaurant.
The bistro opened on the July long weekend. Its mission is to bring fresh, nutritionally balanced vegetarian fare to everyone. The bistro’s menu states that, “We believe that choosing vegetarian cuisine can promote optimal health and environmental sustainability.”
Almost all the food is made on site and from scratch. As well, the bistro uses local sources, including ice cream from Happy Cow and cheese from Le Grand Fromage.
The bistro operates in the same location as Big Bang Bagels at 502 Second Avenue in Fernie. When the bagel shop closes for the day, the bistro opens up at 6 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
The restaurant is run by Carolyn Doyle, Rachel Adams and Jill Parnell.
Parnell studied nutrition for her undergrad and is currently a professor of physical education and recreational studies at Mount Royal University in Calgary. She’s always wanted to open a vegetarian restaurant and apply her research to something more practical.
Parnell identified nutrients that are usually lacking in vegetarian diets and included them in all the meals, including protein and omega 3 fatty acids.
The Grass and Root Chips is one of the more popular dishes, which includes beets, parsnip, yam, kale and potatoes along with tzatziki sauce for dipping for $7.
Parnell’s favourite dish is the Nutty Mushroom Burger, which comes garnished with applewood cheddar, avocado, grated veggies, Dijon mayo sauce, and served with a side garden salad or grass and root chips for $13.
Customers can also order a variety of salads big enough for a meal on their own.
Another menu standout is the Macless Cheese, which includes cancer fighting broccoli and cauliflower in a Canadian Cheddar and nutritional yeast sauce, topped with walnuts and hemp hearts for $17.
Parnell wants to break the misconception that people can’t get all their nutritional needs from a mostly vegetarian diet. “You just have to be smart about planning your meals,” said Parnell, who will eat meat on occasion. “Eating meat once a week is more than sufficient. If you choose to eat vegetarian more often than not, you will end up with a healthier, longer life.”
On each table is a top ten list of reasons to eat a vegetarian diet including, better looking skin, weight control, more nutritious, reducing type 2 diabetes, longer life expectancy, better for the environment, less expensive, lower risk of cancer, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and most importantly, it is delicious.