Raw food restaurant opens downtown

By Isaac Bonnell

Nama Living Foods and Wellness Cafe, a new raw food restaurant, opened April 14 at 1111 N. State St. next to the Masonic Hall.

Most people are familiar with the vegetarian diet, but raw food takes it one step further: all of the food is fresh and not cooked, said owner Marlene Riviere.

“We don’t cook anything,” Riviere said. “By not cooking the food, all the nurtients are still there.”

Raw food diets are popular as a detox or weight-loss program, and that was how Riviere was first introduced to the concept of living foods. She tried a 30-day diet and felt great, but it was hard to continue the diet after that.

“It was either smoothies or salads and I got really bored. So I dropped the whole thing,” she said. “Later I was introduced again to raw food at a potluck and I saw people making delicious raw lasagnas and pizzas.”

Riviere decided to open her own restaurant in part to show that a raw food diet doesn’t have to be bland. One of her favorite items on the menu is a Thai noodle salad made with zucchini and seaweed noodles, almond butter sauce, garlic and lemongrass.

The 1,200-square-foot restaurant includes a demonstration kitchen, where Riviere plans to hold cooking classes and sell all the items and ingredients necessary to start a raw food kitchen at home.

The restaurant is cozy — it seats only 13 people — and is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call Nama Living Foods and Wellness Cafe at (360) 594-4448.

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