Looking for a tasty and healthy place to grab a meal on the southwest side of town? Then you’ll want to check out Axum Market Cafe inside the newly renovated Dr. Phillips YMCA.
I was recently invited to visit the cafe, which does not require a YMCA membership to visit. There is indoor seating, as well as a newly opened patio area, which this time of year is nice.
But it’s the food you’ll want to visit Axum Market Cafe for. The menu is comprised of healthy made-from-scratch dishes from muffins to pizzas. And when I say made-from-scratch, I mean they grind their own grains for baked goods to preserve the nutrients and hearty flavor, and they use natural ingredients and spices for flavor, not something out of a can or with tons of salt.
They also try to use as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, including their own farm in Winter Garden.
For the most part, the menu is vegan, though some items have cheese or lean meat like roasted chicken or wild salmon.
Pizzas use a base of hummus, basil pesto, guacamole, or tomato sauce with greens blended in. I tried the Pesto Quinoa Pizza, which featured a whole grain crust topped with the basil pesto, tomatoes, quinoa, roasted red peppers, seasonal veggies, and Parmesan cheese. The flavor combination was so savory!
I also tried one of their Bowls, which features your choice of bases (whole grains, rice, salad, etc), topped with your choice of veggies, and even a meat or fish protein. I liked that the dish was so customizable.
In fact most every dish can be tailored to accommodate food allergies or special diets.
I also tried some of their grab and go muffins. Now you hear whole grain-no dairy muffin, and what comes to mind? Well I can tell you the Blueberry Chia muffin and the Carrot Ginger muffin were moist and slightly sweet, not dry and tasteless. And they weren’t full of the sugar you find in most restaurant muffins.
But honestly, as good as the food is, it also being healthy is just a bonus. Though I did appreciate the stickers put on the packaging tell you why the dish is healthy for you and what goes into it.
Prices are very reasonable, especially for such quality. Everything I tried was $10 or less, except for the Family Bowl, which serves 4 for under $30. There are also some pre-packaged items to grab and go, if you’re in a hurry.
The cafe does live up to its name by offering fresh brewed coffee and teas, too. They even roast their own beans.
So the food tastes good, is good for you, and guess what? You do good by purchasing it. 100% of profits are donated to local and worldwide charities.
Sounds like a dining hat trick to me.
Axum Market Cafe is open from 5:30am to 9:30pm. It’s inside the Dr. Phillips YMCA, just to the left of the main entrance. Parking is free, and I’m told they offer free wifi, too. Also coming are cooking classes to teach you to make healthy food at home.
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