Diet trends come and go, but for those who choose to eat healthy as a way of life, finding a tasty restaurant to dine at can be tricky.
Wanting to bring healthy eating options to the area, Brookfield resident Robin Kasch opened Café Manna in Brookfield in February 2008, and has been delighting diners with healthy and delicious dishes ever since.
Kasch explains that, "Many years ago, I used food as a healing process for myself, so I knew what food could do." However, she found that there were few places she could go to dine. After visiting a vegan restaurant in California, Kasch remembered that, "I said this is what I want."
Through the encouragement of a mentor, she began looking for locations to open her very own restaurant. Not finding what she was looking for in the 5th ward, the north shore or downtown, Kasch found the perfect location for Café Manna in Brookfield.
While planning the restaurant, Kasch said that she "wanted to have good, solid vegetarian food." Since then, the menu has grown to include gluten free, raw and vegan dishes. Everything except the bread and pita chips are made fresh in house — even the ketchup.
"That's how I wanted the restaurant to be, fresh and yummy," said Kasch.
Menu items reflect faire from around the world, from Asia to America. Popular appetizers are guacamole potato skins and raw nachos, and diners swoon over the marinated beet and arugula salad.
One of the restaurant's most popular sandwiches is the Café Manna burger, their Jamaican Jerk lentil burger topped with spiced aioli, greens, onion and tomato on a whole wheat bun.
With the raw food movement taking hold, people are loving the raw tacos, made with refried beans, seasoned nut meat and lettuce, topped with cashew sour cream and pico de gallo.
"We get very inventive here. We like to try new things," Kasch explained.
Not only does Café Manna strive to serve local and organic food when possible, the restaurant itself is Three-Star Certified Green by the Green Restaurant Association — the first to hold that title in Wisconsin. Instead of sending leftovers home in styrofoam containers, the café's leftover boxes are made from sugarcane or corn, and the to-go utensils are made from potato or vegetable starch.
"We take pride in that," Kasch said of their green practices.
Guests are welcome to dine inside, or outside on one of the restaurants two patios.
Café Manna also offers cooking classes once a month, ranging in theme from wine and cheese tasting to oils and vinegars from around the world.
Address: 3815 N. Brookfield Rd. Brookfield, WI 53045
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11AM-9PM, Closed Sunday
Price range: $10-$18
Handicapped access: Yes
Gluten-free options: Yes
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