Café Gratitude to Give Thanks With Free Thanksgiving Day Meal

Café Gratitude is located at 1980 Kettner Blvd. in San Diego’s Little Italy community


A vegan restaurant in San Diego’s Little Italy will share its gratitude next week by serving a free meal to patrons on Thanksgiving Day.

Staffed by community volunteers, Café Gratitude, located at 1980 Kettner Blvd., will open its doors on Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to serve a free, organic plant-based Thanksgiving Day meal. The pre-set menu includes festive dishes like raw pecan, cranberry and apple stuffing, red lentil holiday loaf, mushroom gravy and more.

This is the first time the San Diego location will partake in the Thanksgiving tradition. Other Café Gratitude locations in California – including its flagship eatery in San Francisco and location in Venice – do this annually, as the Thanksgiving holiday goes hand-in-hand with the company’s philosophy of expressing gratitude on a daily basis.

The event will incorporate community, sustainability and, of course, giving thanks.

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The 100% organic Café Gratitude planted its roots in Little Italy in late July 2015 at a 4,000-square-foot space at 1980 Kettner Blvd. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, as well as gluten-free pastries to-go and fresh-pressed juices.

The gourmet vegan eatery highlights healthy cuisine and organic ingredients from sustainable sources. To that end, many of the items use produce sourced from local farms as well as fruits and veggies from the founders’ farm in Vacaville, California. 

Items on the menu are named after positive affirmations, including the “Vivacious” appetizer ($8), oven-baked kale chips with a choice of garlic tahini, cashew nacho cheese or cashew ricotta dipping sauce, or the “Liberated” ($15), an entrée consisting of marinated pesto kelp noodles, heirloom cherry tomatoes, local black and green olives, wild arugula, basil hempseed pesto, cashew ricotta and brazil nut parmesan.

The eatery also offers coffee, tea lattes, smoothies, milkshakes, spritzers and “Wellness Elixers” such as the “Beaming,” a vitamin C shot that combines orange juice, carrot juice, goji berry, camu camu, astragalus, acerola berry and amla berry.

The Little Italy location is the first San Diego-based outpost for Café Gratitude, which was originally founded in 2004 in San Francisco. The café has other locations in California, including Los Angeles, Venice Beach, Santa Cruz, Berkeley and Newport Beach.

The company’s expansion into San Diego was supported by health-conscious singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, a major investor who lives in San Diego’s North County, and a vegan food enthusiast.

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