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Erewhon_Santa Monica_Credit Carlos_R. Hernandez Retail Design Collaborative1.jpg Photos: Carlos R. Hernandez/Retail Design Collaborative
Erewhon Café makes gluten-free vegan breads, paleo breads and other organic bakery items.

Culinary Catalysts 2018: Best Restaurant

Erewhon Market Cafés reflect chain’s organic mission

For more than 50 years, Erewhon Organic Grocery and Cafe has served the Southern California community with a highly curated product mix that includes functional foods, adaptogens, herbs, superfoods, 100% organic produce, and more. Its four locations — Los Angeles, Calabasas, Venice and Santa Monica — cultivate a highly engaged, conscious and passionate shopper base.

Erewhon has been called a “high-class version of Whole Foods,” and its cafés have been a significant element of its offerings. Each café is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and includes seating.

The menu has earned accolades for its elevation of healthful dining options.

More Culinary Catalysts winners:
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• Best Signature Dish >>

“We control just about every item sold in our locations,” said Tony Antoci, CEO of Erewhon Markets. “There is very small percentage of outside vendor products.”

Erewhon Cafés are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer outdoor seating.

Erewhon maintains close relationships with the farms that provide much of the product for both the stores and the cafés, he said.

“We demand organic in our cafés,” he said. “We have very few conventional items, and only those items that must be in our kitchens and are not available as organics are permitted. That is less then 5% of all ingredients in our cafes.”

He said the company is striving to become 100% organic by 2020.

Among the current offerings are 100% organic soups with stocks made from scratch, using 24- to 36-hour slow simmered broths. The cafés also feature all housemade organic dressings, sauces and marinades.

Breads used in the cafés are also 100% organic and naturally leavened, and Erewhon also makes gluten-free vegan breads, paleo breads and other organic bakery items.

The menu includes a new line of raw dishes such as zucchini pasta, mock tuna salad, pad Thai and kale pesto pasta. Among the most popular café offerings are the organic soups, the gluten-free macaroni and cheese, organic flank steak and turmeric cauliflower, according to Antoci.

He noted that between 40% and 50% of the café’s lunch business is from customers who come in solely to eat lunch.

“Where else can you get in and get out in 30 minutes or less with some of the best ingredients available?” he said.

In addition, Erewhon offers the Tonic Bar and Nutrition Connection, designed to inspire the community to explore and learn about the healing properties of specially crafted drinks. The locations serve as hubs for shoppers and staffers alike to discover how ingredients interact with and fuel the body.

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