You may have noticed that we are slowly shifting from O2 Vegan Cafe to VO2 Vegan Cafe.
Actually, VO2 was the name I had imagined for the cafe way before it was a reality. I was sailing with my family and writing in my journal. I started writing an imaginary menu and then a logo for this imaginary place. There will be more to come on the beginnings of the cafe, but for now, just know that the name change is intended to directly reflect the mission of VO2 Vegan Cafe.
When we first took over the Cambridge space, we were completely overwhelmed by the size and scope of the project. We knew that we would need to diversify the space and more importantly, spread out the responsibility. What we wanted, from the start, was a place where community could be built on many levels. Our studio in Somerville was always filled with people who wanted to sit down and chat after class over a cup of tea, or more, but there just wasn’t enough space. Well, with Cambridge, we got what we had dreamed of and more.
The cafe was going to be sublet out to someone else who “knew what they were doing”. I had had a passion for vegan food and feeding the masses for a long time but never thought I could run a cafe. I had worked as a bartender and waitress but never ran a kitchen. I thought that I would leave that to the experts. The only requirement was that it needed to be vegan as we are a vegan family and business and we believe that our business should reflect our ethics and life philosophy. Well, we went through a few different very wonderful groups of people who wanted to do it but I just didn’t feel like it was going to be exactly what I wanted. It was in the front of our “house” after all, and I knew that I wanted it to be a reflection of O2 and the philosophy that we had already built there.
After much discussion my husband said, “Just do it. You can start out simple and go on from there.” Okay, so just coffee, tea, and pastries made off site(This was O2 Cafe). That lasted about a week and then we started making smoothies, and then I started making just one sandwich, then two and then soups, and then, well, here we are with a full menu! Honestly, I still don’t “know what I am doing” but I do know what I want and how I want it to be. I am learning along the way and doing my best to constantly grow and improve on all things VO2, which brings me to the name change.
We are a direct reflection of and part of O2 Yoga, therefore, the O2 is prominently in our name. That said, we are also vegan and proud of it. The V before the O2 represents that pride and commitment to stand for all things vegan. The V also symbolizes the symbol for both peace and victory. If we want to change the world, we need to, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Many of my friends in the restaurant business told me that I couldn’t open an all vegan restaurant. I would have to compromise in order to make non-vegans happy. Well, I think that’s big, beautiful bull and I want to prove it. First of all, we are not just for vegans we are for everybody who loves good food.(more on this later) But, I believe in being consistent, committed, and brave enough to stand up for what is right. So, we are not just O2 Vegan Cafe, we are VO2 Vegan Cafe and damn proud of it!!! VO2 is for everybody who loves comfort food, who wants a big smile and welcome with their order, who wants to be part of something bigger than themselves, who wants a place to feel empowered, who wants to learn and grow, who wants to support a family business, who cares about not just what they are eating, but where it comes from, and how it was made. Most importantly, VO2 is here to make you feel good, to nourish not just your body but your soul, and to inspire you to be the most awesome and wonderful human you can be! Peace, Mimi