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Eat well and thereby help the planet 

A vegan restaurant in Baywood Park encourages conscientious consumption

click to enlarge MSS NATURAL :  The co-creators of Be Love Café, Rachel Axtell (left) and Brandie Michelle, believe in unprocessed, wholesome fare to nourish building community. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • MSS NATURAL : The co-creators of Be Love Café, Rachel Axtell (left) and Brandie Michelle, believe in unprocessed, wholesome fare to nourish building community.
A new vegan restaurant in Baywood Park, Be Love Café, serves fresh organic meals prepared with locally grown ingredients, and there are coffees, teas, smoothies, produce, art, and jewelry. There’s also free wireless Internet access.

“We hold potlucks for the community to come together to share and celebrate conscious eating on the first Wednesday of each month. After eating a live meal people are inspired to be creative … we dance, sing, and play around the café, Be Love Café co-creator Brandie Michelle enthused.

Raw or live enzyme-rich food accounts for 80 percent of the menu; the rest is cooked. Everything is 100 percent vegan (no animal products whatsoever) and organic. The menu also features gluten-free and wheat-free breads, crackers, cakes, and cookies. Low-glycemic dishes are available. Be Love Café sells Joebella locally roasted, fair-trade organic coffee and teas from The Secret Garden in SLO. Smoothies are $6 to $8, coffee and teas $2, desserts are $7, and lunch entrees cost between $8 and $15. All prices include tax. Customers can also specify meals that are not on the menu.

“The menu constantly evolves with the seasons, what we can get local each week … We are here to serve our community in the most conscious way we know.  It’s not about making a profit; it’s more about helping a community transition to a healthier, more sustainable way of living through what we offer and education,” Michelle said. “I have been in the food business for about five years; from coordinating large events, to serving at small local cafes; I have done it all in between.  I used to create magic at the first cafe at Smiling Dog Yoga studio in downtown SLO.  Change led me from that experience to serving the community in a new way.”

Michelle said she studied food preparation at a raw vegan culinary arts institute, Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg near Mendocino. “We are vegan and believe in the transformation of our planet through compassionate and conscious diet,” Michelle emphasized. “The choices we make to feed ourselves affect the whole planet … We are voting with our dollar now. By choosing consciously what we put on our plate we can change the whole planet … We are what we eat; let’s make our choice be the best for ourselves and our planet.”

Be Love Café is located at 690 Santa Maria Ave. and is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday, Saturday. Closed Sundays and Thursdays. Special dinners are hosted monthly by reservation. Call 534-1023 for more information.

Fast Facts

Kids Adventure Camp will take place August 9-13 at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden. Children can explore the five Mediterranean climates and the plants native to those environments. Activities include hiking, gardening, art, photography, dancing, cooking classes, geography, and animal study. The cost is $100. Call Julie at 541-1400 ext. 305 for more information

Entrada Studios has opened its doors to all musicians and bands, providing a place to practice without bothering neighbors. Local musicians Frank Shaw and Mark Jansen turned a former recording studio into a comfortable and functional space that sounds as good as it looks. For a small fee anyone can become a member and rent studio time. Studios are rented hourly; substantial discounts apply when studio time is bought in advance. Contact Mark Jansen at 712-3320 or

Intern Dylan Baumann prepared Strokes & Plugs this week. Send your nonprofit and business news to

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