FAIRFIELD — It’s called a Grilled Cheez, but that cheddar cheese is made from tapioca, not milk.
The patties in the Grilled Chik’n and BBQ Chik’n are made with soy fiber. The ice cream is made from soy and coconut milk. The Sausagy patty is made from soy.
Vegan Paradice Gourmet Cafe serves food containing no meat or animal products, but that hasn’t limited the variety on the menu. It even offers pizzas.
“Our whole thing is to show people healthy food can taste good,” said Kimberly Brown, who runs the new restaurant with her husband Gerald. “It doesn’t have to taste bland and have no flavor.”
And vegan food doesn’t have to be a salad. Brown is planning in coming weeks to introduce a chili dog she said will be made in a surprising way.
Brown, a Suisun City resident, became a vegetarian at age 11 at the encouragement of her mother. At 21, she went a step further and became a vegan, which calls for a plant-based diet without any animal products, such as eggs.
“I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it — I know what having a healthier alternative has done for me and my family,” she said. “I just like the feeling of health with it. Our foods are very high in fiber and protein.”
She has catered, but had never run her own restaurant until Vegan Paradice opened a couple of weeks ago at the northeast corner of Texas and Jackson streets.
“I decided downtown Fairfield because I wanted to do something different to downtown and add a different flair to the restaurants that are already down here,” Brown said.
Brown arrives at work around 7 a.m. and prepares the food. She even makes her own condiments, such as ketchup and mayonnaise.
“I use lemon juice instead of vinegar,” she said. “Vinegar over time destroys the lining of the stomach. The acidity in the lemon juice actually heals the lining of the stomach.”
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Brown, after that early start to her day, usually leaves work about 7 p.m.
Despite the name, Vegan Paradice isn’t only for vegans. Anyone who wants to take a break from eating meat or animal products for one meal during the day is welcome.
“We’re here for everybody,” Brown said.
One challenge the Browns had when opening the restaurant was what to do about a pole a few feet in front of the entry door.
“That pole was an eyesore,” Brown said.
The answer: They had a friend paint it green and add leaves, creating an artistic version of a banana tree. The eyesore become an attention-getter.
Brown is hoping the banana tree pole will help get people inside the doors. Then she’ll depend on the food of Vegan Paradice to keep them there.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.