Kokomo: Vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free spot caters to health-conscious Vancouverites on the go

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      Vancouver’s meat-free set will be happy to hear that there’s a new 100-percent plant-based spot in town—and like your favourite coffee shop, this one’s open bright and early to help you start the day on the right foot.

      “Yes, we’re creating food,” Katie Ruddell, owner of the recently opened Kokomo, tells the Straight by phone, “but it’s about supporting, loving, and nourishing our community.”

      Situated at 611 Gore Avenue, Kokomo serves a selection of vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free bowls and smoothies that are concocted to help busy, health-conscious Vancouverites get through early morning sweat sessions and their daily 9-to-5 grinds—all without compromising flavour and nutrition.

      The summery eat-in and takeout shop has been open since late June and has been pumping out a variety of dishes developed by Ruddell, a former marketing and branding specialist who follows a vegan diet, and perfected with the assistance of chef Mark Singson, formerly of Kitsilano’s AnnaLena.

      Bowls (from $10) include the Hemp Caesar, greens dressed in a hemp-and-sunflower-seed dressing and topped with chickpeas, and the Coastal Macro, a crowd favourite that combines brown rice, greens, marinated tempeh, roasted squash, ginger-pickled cabbage, and edamame hummus. Smoothies (from $9), meanwhile, use ingredients like turmeric, chaga mushrooms, and medjool dates, all of which are known to fight inflammation, boost the body’s immune system, and improve digestion, among other benefits.

      Vancouver's recently opened Kokomo is the only place in Canada that offers Cocowhip, a dairy- and sugar-free soft serve from Australia.

      A rotating menu of daily specials, like chickpea curry soup and Thai noodle salad, as well as Cocowhip—a probiotic-packed soft serve that’s crafted from coconut water and bio-fermented coconut powder—are also available. The dairy- and sugar-free treat originates from Australia and is considered so wholesome that “some people even have it for breakfast,” notes Ruddell.

      Kokomo is open Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ruddell hopes to eventually extend the hours into the evening to further support Vancouverites who may be looking for a nutritious dinner option.

      As for Kokomo’s beachy, SoCal-inspired vibe? (And the name of the eatery, which may or may be an ode to the Beach Boys tune.) “The entire experience at Kokomo is about summer and that warmth of summer 365 days a year,” explains Ruddell.

      Check out the images below for a peek at Kokomo’s space and menu before you stop by for a taste.

      The Kokomo Acai (pictured left) topped with fresh fruit, housemade granola, toasted coconut, and mint, and the Hemp Caesar.
      The Vida Macro, a mix of brown rice, greens, black beans, tomatoes, picked carrots, and green onion.
      Kokomo's summery interiors are inspired by owner Katie Ruddell's favourite season.
      A closer look at the Kokomo Acai, which, for the uninitiated, is essentially a smoothie you eat with a spoon.
      Cocowhip, a soft serve crafted from coconut water and coconut powder, topped with coconut flakes.