Flavor // The Tao of tasty

It’s BBQ season and for many of us, that means we’re loading up on hot dogs and burgers.

If you’re in need of a reprieve from all the grilled meat, Tao Natural Foods is a perfect place to stop for a bite to eat.

Tao Natural Foods has an organic food café and a store that sells dietary supplements, books and many other wellness products. The store has been in business since 1968. The café and juice bar has been around since the mid-80s, serving up fresh local fare long before it was fashionable.  

If you stop in for breakfast, Tao will tempt you with its multigrain waffle topped with fruit, walnuts and real maple syrup. You can also order old-fashioned oatmeal, a yogurt parfait or granola.

The smoothie and juice list is long, too. Clever combinations include the Mojo Musterer (a fresh-squeezed juice with pineapple, orange, lemon and ginger) and the Free Radical Raider (a banana, strawberry, blueberry, kiwi and almond milk smoothie).

For lunch, you can pick from several sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads and veggie plates.

Sam Needham, Tao’s co-owner, noted a couple of longtime favorites: the Veggie Rice Plate and the Doozie salad.

The Veggie Rice Plate ($9) has been a mainstay since the mid-80s. It’s a simple dish, but packed with all kinds of veggies — kale, cabbage, carrots and more — served on a bed of brown rice.

The Doozie ($10.25) is another menu item loaded with vegetables. The powerhouse salad has mixed greens topped with black beans, brown rice, tomatoes, onions, sprouts, hummus, guacamole, balsamic vinegar and Annie’s goddess dressing.

A couple of sandwich stars are the Tempeh Reuben (a vegetarian version of the classic with a grilled tempeh patty, melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut on pumpernickel served with a side Annie’s thousand island dressing), and the Avocado sandwich (thinly sliced avocadoes and sprouts served with vegan mayo). Both are delicious and rich, but relatively small portions that won’t hit you with the post-lunch lethargy.

“It’s preventative health care — eating right,” Needham said. “Everyone is so concerned with healthcare issues. If you eat right, it’s less of a concern.”

Tao Natural Foods
2200 Hennepin Ave. S.