O.B. Garden Cafe Is Open for Vegetarian Business in North Ocean Beach

by on January 8, 2018 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Sit-Down Restaurant a Goal of Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market for Many Years

By Bob Edwards

In mid-December, Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market opened its new restaurant, O.B. Garden Café, just a few doors east of the market on Voltaire Street between Sunset Cliffs and Ebers Street.

Indoor dining. All photos by Bob Edwards

O.B. Garden Café is not just another new restaurant, it’s an enterprise that, like People’s Food, is a democratically owned cooperative, dedicated to reinvesting its profits into the community, paying workers a living wage, and keeping the cost of food at a fair and reasonable price.

Many elements of the café read like every progressive person’s check list of things to like and support:  Healthy organic food, support of sustainable agriculture, ecologically sound practices, concern about customer’s and farmworkers’ health, and more.

Opening a sit down restaurant has been a goal of the Co-op for a long time.  The Co-op has been serving Ocean Beach and San Diego since the early 1970s when it grew out of the same progressive movement as other present and past Ocean Beach institutions such as the OB Free School, OB Ecology Action, and the OB Rag.

Looking towards the kitchen

Open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, the café offers a sit down lunch and dinner service with salads, soups, appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts.  In the morning, coffee drinks and other beverages, pastries, an acai bowl, and a couple toast-centric dishes are available.

According to Amber Forest McHale, Marketing Director of the Co-op, who answered the OB Rag‘s questions by email, 98% of the menu items and all of the produce used are certified organic.  The restaurant’s menu is all vegetarian, with many vegan dishes available.

Roof top patio

Eventually, the café plans on serving beer and wine, which will be organic whenever possible, with the beer provided by local breweries.  Ms. McHale said that the cafe’s beer and wine license is pending with the State Alcohol Beverage Control, but is expected to arrive shortly.  All food waste will be composted.

The menu, which is completely different from the food served at the Co-op’s deli, was a cooperative effort by the restaurant’s manager and kitchen chefs.  The menu is available here .

The café employs 31 people, most of them new hires.  Some of the employees have been cross trained to work at the store which allows them to accrue more hours.

The café has several seating areas, a natural light-filled indoor dining room (to reduce the reliance on electricity), a ground level patio, and an upstairs patio.  Folding accordion windows separate the indoor and outdoor spaces and have been open most times the Rag has visited, providing fresh air and a nice ambience.

Portobello mushroom taco plate

Close attention was paid to the materials used in the cafe’s construction including the use of reclaimed wood and low VOC paints and sealers selected to minimize harmful outgassing of fumes into the building.

Although it would be unfair to review a restaurant before it has a few months to work the bugs out and refine its menu, early reports and this reporter’s experience have been very positive.  A morning visit provided a tasty chocolate croissant and a perfectly constructed extra dry cappuccino.

Assorted small plates: tomato soup, roasted vegetables, mac and cheese

Items sampled at several lunches and dinners had way more hits than misses and included an extraordinary tomato soup and killer portabella mushroom tacos.  Service was efficient and provided by a uniformly friendly and earnest staff.

Now open for business, the restaurant plans for its official grand opening in the new year, once they have received their alcohol license.  O.B. Garden Café is located at 4741 Voltaire Street, in Ocean Beach, 92107.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly January 8, 2018 at 9:43 pm

Think of it – OB now has 2 veggie restaurants within a block on Voltaire; wow!


Judy Collier January 9, 2018 at 6:40 am

And the food is good! Plus friendly staff and welcome to dogs in outside areas. An excellent addition to my neighborhood dining options.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: