Vegan café grows into Hamilton

The good news is Lettuce Love Cafe is busy — the bad news is that sometimes means customers can’t find a place to sit.

Amy Kenny
The Hamilton Spectator

Lettuce Love general manager Michael Rennie and founder Kelly Childs at their Burlington location.

Lettuce Love general manager Michael Rennie and founder Kelly Childs at their Burlington location.

That’s why the Burlington restaurant is opening a second location in Hamilton.

The move is satisfying for owner Kelly Childs, who opened the vegan eatery under the name Kindfood in 2010.

At the time, Childs had little experience running a restaurant. Her background was in accounting. She had created a vegan menu for her husband’s Toronto pub, but that was the extent of it.

Still, when Childs and her husband sold the pub and moved to Burlington, she decided to get into the restaurant game.

“‘Do you really think vegan’s going to take off in Burlington?’ That was the No. 1 thing (people said),” Childs says.

“But the naysayers make you work harder.”

It paid off. Shortly after opening, Childs was too busy for her John Street space.

She moved her desserts (all gluten-free, vegan and peanut-free) into a separate storefront called Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, now run by her daughter.

She then rebranded Kindfood as Lettuce Love and focused on vegan meals, including tempeh chili, rice bowls, smoothies and burgers built on quinoa bread.

Childs says she estimates only about 20 per cent of her customers are vegan. The rest are a diverse mix, some of whom are just trying the place out.

She says she has noticed that people in general, vegetarians and omnivores alike, have an increased interest in what they’re eating.

“People are deciding to read the labels and really starting to understand why that’s so important. We’re sort of at a tipping point right now,” she says.

akenny@thespec.com
905-526-2458 | @Amyatthespec

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