Step into Buddha-Full Juice & Smoothies (101-106 West 1st Street) in North Vancouver, and you’ll be hit with owners Kyla Rawlyns and Geremie Voigt’s positive vibe.
“When people walk in, they feel like they’re at home almost,” Rawlyns told the Georgia Straight in the vegan café, located two blocks away from Lonsdale Quay. “So, the design of it was to just feel comfortable—to have comfort food and feel welcomed. Everyone’s welcome. That, for me, was the main goal.”
Aside from being 30-year-old restaurateurs, Rawlyns is a singer-songwriter and Voigt is an actor. The Kyla Rawlyns Band even filmed its music video “Crossed Paths” in the café. (While Voigt does theatre mostly, he also appeared in the video for Vancouver rock band Nickelback’s “Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good”.)
So, the East Vancouver roommates are really into filling the place with art and music. Local paintings and photographs hang on the walls, and a piano and a drum set sit in the back of the café.
Voigt told the Straight that all of Buddha-Full’s furniture is “reclaimed”. Church pews are used for seating, and there’s a stained-glass sneeze guard. Chairs from an old juice bar bear affirmations, such as “I am focused” and “I ♥ my body”, on their seat cushions.
But the menu of fresh juices ($4.75 to $6.50) and smoothies ($5.50 to $10.80) is what draws the most attention.
According to Voigt, the One Love (strawberries, pineapple, orange juice, beets, and rose water) is a popular juice. Among smoothies, the Vibrance C (ginger, mango, orange juice, pineapple, and banana) and the LoBo (hemp protein, dates, peanut butter, banana, and almond milk), or Lonsdale Bohemian, are top sellers.
In the food case, both raw and cooked items are on offer. There’s the organic chickpea eggplant curry mango wrap with salad ($6.95), organic raw chocolate ganache cake ($7), and matcha cupcake ($4.75), for example.
Geremie Voigt gives a tour of Buddha-Full Juice & Smoothies in North Vancouver.
Although none of the café’s food contains animal ingredients, Buddha-Full isn’t fully vegan because it offers customers the option of having cow’s milk and honey with their coffee and tea. There’s also bee pollen in the 108 smoothie.
Voigt said they opened Buddha-Full in September 2010 in order to give people the “freedom to try” vegan food in a friendly environment.
“That’s why we call ourselves a transitional café,” Voigt said. “You can go into some areas where it’s just all raw or all this and that, and people get overwhelmed. So, we try to do stuff that introduces people to certain elements, and they don’t feel uncomfortable trying it.”