Since opening its doors in July, ZEND Conscious Lounge, a botanical bar and kitchen offering nutrient-rich super foods and beverages, has been injecting a healthy dose of plant-based energy into the city.
Located at 1130 Mainland Street in Yaletown, ZEND Conscious Lounge is the brainchild of Steven Curtis, an entrepreneur and the CEO of ZAG, a company focused on helping people live happier
Both Curtis’ personal journey and his motivation behind launching ZEND are truly remarkable. In 2005, Curtis was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer for which there was no treatment, cure or survivors past a few years. After scouring the globe for a remedy, he turned his attention towards alternative medicines and focused on finding a solution through mastering health, which involved completely changing his dietary habits.
In addition to living his life to the fullest (summiting Mount Everest and raising $100,000 for at-risk youth), Curtis cleansed and nourished his body with a fully plant-based diet, the efforts of which miraculously rid him of all traces of cancer.
Back at the helm of ZAG, Curtis and his team, continue to create effective botanical blends, by combining centuries old traditional healing remedies with cutting edge research and development. The company has formulated a botanical-based mood-enhancing drink, aptly named ZEND, which is sold in more than 50 countries and produces a noticeable mind-relaxing and functional effect.
This signature drink, which is taken daily by many people to help with conditions like stress, pain, sleep, depression and anxiety, is the inspiration behind the lounge in Yaletown – an inclusive space that aims to connect the community and promote happier and healthier lives, through a variety of nourishing and healing foods. Indeed, ZEND serves up food that not only tastes good but also feels good.
Harnessing the mind to be consciously aware of what one is putting into their body, ZEND offers a menu that is 100% vegan and made for sharing. The kitchen, which is led by Brad Godin, is fully plant-based, organic and nutrient-dense. All of the ingredients from ZEND’s beverages and edible creations are carefully sourced from around the world to provide the highest quality fare.
Currently offering the same menu at lunch and dinner, ZEND presents its patrons with a smorgasbord of seasonal whole foods and super foods that have be redefined by global tastes. There are a variety of vegan wraps, sandwiches, soups and salads.
Dishes such as The Warmed Spiced Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip with organic blue tortillas, Pico de Gallo and queso fresco (completely cashew based), and the Delicate South East Asian Rice Wraps with a coconut mango slaw filling and a cilantro red pepper dip, prove that vegan food does not have to be bland or boring.
When asked about what visitors to ZEND can expect, General Manager Brook Cairns, says enthusiastically that patrons “will walk away feeling nourished, full and satisfied. We have created our own path with our food program to empower carnivores to enjoy plant-based dining.”
Chocolate lovers will also able to get their fix from ZEND’s indulgent Triple Chocolate Torte. Comprised of fudge, chocolate avocado mousse and a nut and cocoa nib crust, this rich dessert is wickedly good and a great way to tempt people into the world of healthy eating.
In addition to the food on offer, ZEND also whips up a range of health-focused Elixirs, smoothies and hot beverages. ZEND’s knowledgable staff are happy to suggest a drink tailored to your state-of-mind. For those in need an energy boost or a little extra motivation the Einstein Elixir, a vibrant orange concoction made from carrots, fresh pineapple, oranges, ginger and Lion’s Mane is recommended.
While this drink contains a swig of vitamins, thanks to the first three commonly used ingredients, it is the fourth, Lion’s Mane, that makes this drink truly unique. Often referred to as Sheep’s Head, Lion’s Mane is a medical mushroom used for restoring cognitive functions. It works to regenerate the brain so one feels sharper, clearer and more focused.
Although ZEND’s food philosophy is similar to other vegan eateries around the city, ZEND is not your typical vegan restaurant, in fact it doesn’t even label itself as a restaurant. Instead, it promotes itself as a social meeting place, where you can get delicious food and drinks if that’s what you’re after, converse with old and new friends, or simply sit and enjoy the calming space.
Cairns also notes that ZEND is a social enterprise “with a pioneering vision, which invites people to engage in charitable giving while making better lifestyle choices.” In fact, when you choose to eat at ZEND you are not only doing good for yourself but also for others too. Remarkably, 100% of ZEND’s profits are donated to charity.
After the staff and all the bills are paid, ZEND donates every penny to ZAG Heartbeats, ZEND’s company charity. Together ZEND’s staff and patrons get to vote on where the money goes. In the past ZAG Heartbeats has donated to the Earthquake relief in Nepal, donated 20 bikes to a local elementary school and paid for the school food program for underprivileged children.
ZEND Conscious Lounge’s hours of operation are Sunday through to Thursday, from
11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to Midnight. Currently ZEND showcases live music every Friday and Saturday night, and beginning this September they will host “ZEND Talks” every Wednesday night. For more information check ZEND’s social media pages.
Address: 1130 Mainland Street, Yaletown