Venturing Off The Beaten Path: Dandelion Communitea Cafe

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Dandelion Communitea Cafe is one of those local, cozy, and “feel good” places that most people do not realize actually exist – especially in a sprawling city like Orlando! Staffed by “friends” who really make you feel at home, Dandelion (or simply “Dandy”) serves up specials that look and taste like comfort food, though the ingredients that comprise them are likely not the ones you grew up with.

Perhaps the magic behind the friendly service and lovingly prepared meals stem from the philosophies and practices of the co-proprietors, Julie Norris and Chris Blanc. Both refer to themselves as the “mom and pop” behind the concept and hold strong ties to the community they live, work, and play in. Their staff, past and present, are referred to as their “tribe,” and since the opening of Dandy in its distinctive 1920′s-era converted housing, the entire city block has become an cultural hot-bed of holistic living with yoga studios, bookshops, and more.

…but what about the food?

Fueled by the concept of ‘slow’ food, Dandy advocates a more mindful approach to fueling the body without coming off as too preachy. Organic, local, and fair trade are capstones of the menu, but whether diners are vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or just hungry – there’s something for everyone.

The ‘Giddy-Up’ -($9 regular price, just $5 on ‘Giddy-Up Mondays’) perhaps the most popular item on the menu – is a favorite for a reason. Hot, tempeh chili served with crumbled blue corn chips, fresh tomatoes, and scallions topped with your choice of vegan or organic dairy queso. Many request this meal atop salad greens for a veggie boost (as pictured) Alongside that tempting choice are a smorgasbord of salads, wraps, burritos and even a kids menu ($3-5, includes coloring sheets) with healthi-fied versions of PBJs and grilled cheese sandwiches.

No meal here is complete without an array of beverage choices, and, again, Dandy does not disappoint. There are a variety of freshly-brewed iced teas, coffees, “garden tonics” and more, all enthusiastically explained to patrons by the Dandy tribe. “Buttercup Rooibos,” “Morockin’ Mint,” and “Strawberry Fields” are just a sampling of the “Teas of the Day” ($2.50, unlimited refills) that are announced through Dandy’s social media accounts.

With such a trove of options to dive into, there’s no reason Dandy should not be on your “to discover” list the next time you’re searching for something new and different in Orlando. You can find Dandy at 618 North Thornton Ave, Orlando FL 32803, and on Facebook and Twitter, too. You’ll be glad you did!

 

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Posted on August 7, 2013

5 Responses to “Venturing Off The Beaten Path: Dandelion Communitea Cafe”

  • We love to find more local places when we travel. This sounds like a great place in the Orlando area! Thanks for sharing the tip!

  • New here…great idea for a post and I hope you’ll do more! Any suggestions for one a little closer to the Mouse?

    • by Kristina Murphy on August 10, 2013, at 12:07 am EDT

      Caryn – thanks for the comment…I am on the case! :D Are you looking for any sort of cuisine in particular?

      • Yes…cheap cuisine. :) The $10-12 range for lunch or dinner. I’m open to try almost anything, but um…nothing exotic like rare animals or monkey brains. I menu surfed yesterday for the parks and had some sticker shock, so finding a couple of good local places would be fun AND make it a bit more memorable! The two recommendations so far look like a great start to your blogging quest! Thank you for your help – and if you ever come to Jacksonville I’ll return the kindness!