A bright green house on Thorton Avenue, just around the corner from Orlando’s Vietnamese business district, beckons downtown traffic to pause and take part in a movement as green as the building. A hand-painted wooden sign welcomes visitors to Dandelion Communitea Café, a local teahouse and vegetarian eatery that is part of the growing community of eco-friendly Orlando businesses.
Operating out of a converted 1920’s bungalow in the Mills-50 district, Dandelion offers a wide variety of fresh, delicious vegetarian dishes, with plenty of vegan and celiac-friendly options, prepared with locally grown, organic produce.
Dandelion proudly boasts their affiliation with the growing “slow food” movement–the idea that good food takes time to ethically grow, prepare, and savor. The Dandelion website notes their commitment to sustainable agriculture through working with Florida farmers and has partnered with local business My Yard Farm to cultivate an edible garden on the premises. You can find items from the “yard farm” in many of the dishes on the menu. Talk about fresh!
Despite the term “slow food,” rest assured, you won’t be waiting hours for any of the fresh salads, sandwiches, or wraps on the menu. Popular dishes include the Giddyup (spring greens topped with vegan tempeh chili, blue corn chips, and choice of vegan or dairy queso), the Polynesian Banana Fantasy (spring greens, banana, carrot, cucumber, walnuts, raisins, and coconut flakes tossed in a creamy curry dressing), and the Fakin’ Lettuce & Tomato (a vegan twist on the classic BLT). All of the salads have the option to be prepared as a classic salad, in a wheat wrap, or wrapped in a collard green leaf for gluten-free goodness.
To wash it all down, choose between the iced tea of the day (two flavors rotating daily), organic teas, and fair trade coffee. Dandelion also sells their loose-leaf teas by the ounce so you can prepare your favorite blends at home. If either of the daily flavors doesn’t tickle your fancy, Dandelion’s staff can prepare a variety of teas, tisanes, or coffee beverages to your liking.
Every great meal needs a decadent dessert, vegan and vegetarian meals included! Partnered with Rhapsodic Cooperative Bakery, Dandelion offers vegan and gluten-free deserts, such as fudge brownies and pecan pie cupcakes, with flavors rotating daily.
For a fair price (between $7-$10 per entrée) enjoy fair trade products, ethically grown greens, and delicious local flavors made to order. Dandelion has been nominated by Orlando weekly as “best vegetarian” and “best teahouse” for a reason–it’s one of Orlando’s vegan culinary gems.
For more information and café hours check out their website.