Salt Lake City's Raw Food Restaurant: Omar's Living Cuisine
Omar's Living Cuisine was recently featured in The Salt Lake Tribune. This organic, raw food restaurant is located in Salt Lake City, Utah (30 minutes from the ski slopes). Article is excerpted below…
If slogans such as "going raw" and "It's not about the food, it's about the love" are unfamiliar to readers, they probably have yet to visit Omar's Living Cuisine.
This raw food bar at 2144 S. Highland Drive has transported Salt Lake Valley diners to healthier heights since its opening in July 2005. Omar's Living Cuisine serves seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables, prepared in a mixed-and-matched, tossed-and-turned way to keep the variety as fresh as the food. The menu includes drinks, salads, entrées and desserts—all made organically.
The restaurant began after Omar "PureHeart" Abou-Ismail realized in 2004 that a change needed to take place in his life. He had recently graduated in geophysics from the University of Utah and was working in Hawaii when he felt the need for something more. He found it in his eating habits. After thorough research and experimentation, Abou-Ismail began his lifestyle. "I committed," he recalled. "I said, 'I'm never going to eat anything that is not natural. I'm going to eat everything that comes from the earth to me.' "
Shortly after this transition, Abou-Ismail's father died from cancer. This affected Abou-Ismail in such a way that he wanted to give something to humanity, something he wished he could have given to his father: health. Soon thereafter, he began teaching nutrition classes at Wild Oats and followed that by creating his restaurant.
"It's not about food, it's about love," Abou-Ismail said. "I love so much the earth we live on, I love so much humanity, and I feel like I can make a difference here." What began as a simple bar with homegrown vegetables has mushroomed into an ornately decorated corner café with soothing music, soft lighting and wall hangings to match the message. The location is shared with Devin Anderson, who manages Herbs for Health, a shop in the front of the building that specializes in herbs and water.
Abou-Ismail's way of eating is contagious, and the scattering of thank-you cards on a table in the restaurant show that many are grateful for his approach. "Since [meeting Abou-Ismail] I've gone completely raw," said customer Samuel Stinson. "I've lost weight . . . I exercise. Now I'm looking at buying an organic farm." Abou-Ismail fashions all his recipes thoughtfully – and prayerfully.
He does not agree with mass production of food. Nor does he agree that all parts of the famous food pyramid are necessary. "When was this food pyramid made?" Abou-Ismail asks. "The new food pyramid consists of . . . fats, proteins and sweets." He added that these essentials are all found in nuts, seeds and fruits. "I do this because I really love to do this," Abou-Ismail said. "It resonates with my being. It's not about the food, it's about the love."
If you visit Salt Lake City this winter, be sure to stop by.