INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Several years ago, Audrey Barron and her coworkers would joke about her someday opening her own café.
But then… she did.
The accomplished personal chef took what was once the two car garage attached to the building where she used to work and transformed it into Ezra’s Enlightened Café--- the go-to vegan/vegetarian eatery in Broad Ripple Village.
“We are plant-based, we’re gluten-free. We are focused on non-GMO and we’re focused on food that’s bright, flavorful. But I really want people to walk away feeling better than when they walked in,” said Barron.
When Barron opened Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe, she was pregnant with her son, Ezra, who was the inspiration behind opening the restaurant.
“That’s the whole reason I opened this place was inspired by my son…I was inspired by children,” she said. “I saw a need in the community for a place to go where families or anyone could go and feel comfortable ordering from the menu and not have to kind of pick and choose.”
And when it comes to location, she said there was no question in her mind that Broad Ripple was the perfect place open her business.
“I live near here [and] my children go to school near here. It’s kind of like our village, our community… there’s a lot of people that live and come here and are open-minded and interested in health and well-being and it just is a good fit,” she said.
Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe is gluten-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free, non-GMO and specializes in serving live/raw food that is sourced locally. They even grow their own veggies and herbs on their regenerative urban farm. They are focused on being as organic as possible and are mostly vegan with the exception of local raw honey.
“We’re focused on food that’s bright [and] flavorful,” said Barron. “But I really want people to walk away feeling better than when they walked in.”
Over the last several years, Barron says she’s seen an influx in people who have done research that brought them through the doors of Ezra’s seeking healthy, plant-based foods to fit their health and/or lifestyle needs.
“Some folks are coming in with maybe Celiac Disease, their children have autism perhaps, people who are battling things like cancer and then also people who really love food and are vegan and gluten-free,” she explained. “We have regular customers who have been eating here for years and attest to our food helping them live the life that they want to live.”
But you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to enjoy the food here.
“We have heard so many people say, ‘I eat meat’ or ‘I’m not vegan and I love your food!’ and ‘I had no idea it was going to taste this good,” Barron said with a smile.
Some of their most popular menu items include their freshly-made soup of the day, granola bowls and tasty lunch bowls like the Nacho Mama Bean Bowl, Rosemary Sweet Potato Bowl and their top-selling Buddha Bowl.
“It’s got our signature honey spice kale so we source our honey from a local bee-keeper here and kind of massage the kale with olive oil and honey and then it’s got carrots and beets and these falafels that we make every week, a tahini dressing and people just love that,” she explained.
Head over to their Wellness Bar for a sip of something that’s as tasty as it is good for you.
“Our juices are always organic and our smoothies are some of the best around,” said Barron. “We don’t use any ice [and] we’re always using organic and really fresh ingredients.”
Try a fresh smoothie like their Health Nut, Buddha Belly or Strawberry Seduction or opt for an herbal tonic latte or elixir shot.
“It gets kind of like Harry Potter-ish if you will… we’re kind of mixing things up for people,” she said. “It’s really all with the purpose of helping people feel really good… so they can get a little shot, they can get an almost cappuccino-esque drink that doesn’t have any coffee but will leave them feeling really good and nourished.”
Head right to their dessert case to check out one of the sweet treats that they are known for. Some of their most popular offerings include Key Lime pie, chocolate pumpkin cheesecake, cookies, brownies and even CBD-infused options.
When it comes to sweets, Barron said their muffins are always incredibly popular.
“We’ve got a carrot muffin… [so] if you’re wanting that Fall flavor, they’ve got that kind of carrot spice flavor going on,” she said.
One thing that you may notice is that Ezra’s doesn’t offer a kids menu. But that’s all by design, because Barron created a menu that is intended for individuals of all ages to enjoy.
“I walked in the other day and there was a child that was just fully immersed in a donut and a brownie and just loving life,” she said.
Four Things You Need to Know About Ezra’s Enlightened Café:
- Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe is gluten-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free, non-GMO and specializes in serving live/raw food that is sourced locally. They are focused on being as organic as possible and are mostly vegan-- with the exception of local raw honey.
- According to their website, Ezra’s mission is to offer “Enlightened food, wellness products and education to our customers, our community and the planet, serving awareness, happiness, vibrant health and culinary bliss; one beautiful person at a time.”
- If you’re new to plant-based eating or just want to hone your plant-based cooking skills, you can sign up for some of their cooking classes. They’ve held classes focused on things like boosting immunity leading up to flu season and coming up in November and December they are focusing on stress-less holiday dishes.
- Ezra’s offers a membership program, which gets you menu and class discounts, access to an online portal with recipes and info and unlocks their weekly grocery ordering program.
For more information about Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them via Facebook and Instagram.
While in Broad Ripple, check out these other healthy hot-spots within walking distance of Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe: