The Well Cafe And Juice Bar is the only place in the Triad where you will repeatedly get told “no.” No gluten. No oats. No dairy. No soy. No shellfish. No corn. No peanuts. No tree nuts. No outside food or beverage. No problem. And as a person who lives with food allergies and sensitivities, this cafe is a breath of fresh air.
Owners and sisters, Jessika and Veronika Olsen, both suffer from acute food allergies and sensitivities. Both with food regulation backgrounds with the FDA, they wanted to create a safe space for themselves and others who live a similar lifestyle. According to the website, “We have a very personal stake in the creation and operations of The Well Cafe. ... That means finding products that are made in an ultra-clean and simple way that systematically avoids all potential contact with specific allergens.”
Located in downtown Greensboro and attached to the Sonder Mind and Body center, The Well Cafe provides food, drink and coffee service to patrons of the center and daily customers for breakfast and lunch. The menu changes seasonally, but all ingredients are fresh, and many are locally sourced. The only animal protein on the current menu is duck eggs, sourced from a local farmer.
The cafe’s seating area has exposed brick, wooden benches, long tables and chairs with brightly colored, plush pillows. Tiny succulent plants decorate the tables, offering up a very calm vibe to the space. In good weather, the storefront is flanked by big, bright yellow-hued umbrellas and cafe-style tables. Order from the walk-up counter and sit inside to enjoy your fare or take it to go.
The most interesting feature of the cafe is the Dutch process coffee maker.
Sitting next to the front counter register, it’s difficult to miss, as it looms nearly 8 feet high. Ice is placed in a glass chamber at the top of the apparatus. Coffee grounds are placed in a container underneath it. And finally, a receptacle is placed under that to catch the brewed drips. The melted ice water drips into the coffee, and once the grounds are saturated, coffee drips out from the grounds and into a carafe. This process allows coffee to have a lower acidity and less bitterness in comparison to hot coffee brewed with the same beans.
Although coffee, cold-pressed juices and tea (provided by Vida Pour Tea) are good places to start on your path at The Well Cafe, the food is equally approachable and memorable.
The most popular menu item is only sold on the weekends: gluten free Belgian waffles. Served with a fresh fruit compote or maple syrup, it’s available until 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
There are two avocado toasts (made with Simple Kneads gluten-free bread) both topped with smashed avocado, but one is scattered with capers and everything bagel seasoning, while the other is sprinkled with red pepper flakes and drizzled with raw honey.
I opted for the Sunberry toast which is a schmear of roasted sunflower seed butter topped with sliced strawberries, blueberries and sprinkled with raw hemp seeds. I upgrade my toast with a drizzle of CBD (Cannabidiol) honey to up the sweetness factor and throw in a little bit of health-boosting properties as well.
To get the most bang for your buck, get the Powerhouse Sandwich. A rainbow of colors and flavors, it is piled high with avocado, cucumber, sliced apple, onions, housemade hummus, a red pepper-based romesco sauce and a carrot slaw and is served with a side of crisp, root vegetable chips.
The BBQ Jack Bowl is a masterful symphony of barbecued jackfruit (which looks and tastes exactly like pulled pork), a purple cabbage and apple slaw, your choice of quinoa, rice or roasted sweet potatoes drizzled with a sesame ranch dressing and local sauerkraut from local producer, Fermentology.
The Dutch coffee is just one of the unique experiences and menu items available at the cafe. The menu is rife with acronyms, terminology and ingredients that are unfamiliar to the untrained eye. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. Part of the experience here is trying something new to sate your food and drink cravings while boosting your health.