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Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Winged Post

Café Gratitude graces vegan food with positivity

Suhani Gupta (10) laughs while eating at Café Gratitude with her friends. She ordered the “I am strong” curry sweet potato tacos. (Young Min)


A chef shouts from behind the wooden counter, signaling that a new dish is ready to be served. Waiters rush to receive the order, navigating around wooden tables and scattered greenery. At Café Gratitude in Kansas City, the staff consider each other family to foster inclusivity. This 100% organic, vegan restaurant offers a homey dining experience and encourages customers to appreciate themselves and their community. 

The cafe pairs its unique food with a distinctive atmosphere by emphasizing the “Gratitude” aspect of its name. Right as you sit down, your eyes land on cards stacked in the table’s center that pose introspective questions or offer advice. After ordering, the server asks the cafe’s question of the day. Ours was, “When do you feel the most alive?” 

Starting off with drinks, we ordered “I am elevated,” named after the restaurant’s focus on positive affirmations. The drink’s rosewater and sparkling lemonade blended well together and functioned as a terrific palette cleanser.

Tangy and savory bruschetta. The dish included cashew mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top of toasted ciabatta. (Young Min)

For the appetizers, we tried “I am zesty,” buffalo cauliflower with vegan ranch, and “I am present,” bruschetta with cashew cheese. The buffalo cauliflower’s marinade, which tasted sharper than regular buffalo sauce, offered a sour, zesty flavor when paired with ranch. The bruschetta’s fresh tomatoes soaked in a balsamic vinaigrette packed a tangy punch but dominated the cashew cheese, which had little taste to begin with. Although we completely scraped off the cheese, both appetizers exceeded our expectations, and we recommend them to people who enjoy stronger flavors.

Sour, sweet and earthy mushroom tacos. The tacos incorporated brown rice, marinated mushrooms, coconut bacon, caramelized onions and cashew cheese sauce. (Young Min)

Despite the flavorful appetizers, the slow service dampened our dining experience. The size of our party was big, but it did not exceed the restaurant’s full capacity. If you visit the cafe on a packed day, as we did, you should expect long wait times, especially for your entrees.  

After a forty-minute wait, our main entrees finally arrived. We ordered “I am flourishing,” a mushroom taco with coconut bacon and brown rice, and “I am terrific,” the cafe’s vegan take on traditional pad thai. 

The taco featured a variety of contrasting flavors: the mushrooms’ bitter notes, the coconut bacon’s sweetness and the fig balsamic’s acidity. All three flavors clashed with each other, ruining the potential of the dish’s balanced umami flavor. 

If you expect a classic bowl of warm, spiced noodles when ordering the pad thai, you are in for a surprise. The cafe’s pad thai is served cold and consists of raw kelp noodles, teriyaki almonds and vegetables tossed in a Thai almond sauce. Despite the unconventional ingredients, the flavors blend together into a refreshing dish similar to an Asian salad. However, for customers looking for a comforting plate of noodles, we would not recommend ordering the pad thai. 

Frequent visitor Anne Vicky recommends the dish for its unconventional flavor.  

“It’s cold and super flavorful and not what you would expect,” Vicky said. “If you’re expecting pad thai from a Thai place, that is not what you’re getting.” 

Café Gratitude manager of six months and vegan Kaya Santillo discovered the restaurant because of its healthy vegan foods. She highlighted Cafe Gratitude’s incorporation of wellness into the dining experience.

Diner Charlize Wang shuffles gratitude cards. Each card bears a thought-provoking question or quote for visitors to ponder. (Young Min)

“I think the gratitude part of it and being 100% organic has a huge impact,” Kaya said. “A lot of places serve more of the junk food vegan, but we sell healthy dishes. The dishes’ names as well, like ‘I am decadent,’ are super fun. Even our kitchen communicates with affirmations.” 

Overall, if you are looking for a meal with conventional flavors, we would not recommend Café Gratitude. The cafe offers several hit-or-miss vegan options that often fail to imitate the traditional tastes of the dishes. However, vegan or vegetarian customers looking for a healthy meal or refreshing drink would enjoy the variety of menu items offered by the cafe.  

Café Gratitude is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and is closed on Wednesday.

333 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

Our rating: 3.5/5

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About the Contributors
Young Min
Young Min, Co-A&E and Lifestyle Editor
Young Min (11) is the co-arts and entertainment and lifestyle editor for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is her third year on staff. Young hopes to build more connections within the journalism team and attend more school related events. In her free time, Young enjoys to dance, listen to music and read books.
Charlize Wang
Charlize Wang, Reporter
Charlize Wang (11) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Charlize hopes to improve her journalistic writing abilities and grow closer to the members of the journalism team. In her free time, she likes to listen to music, visit cute cafes and watch dramas.

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