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Gracias Madre

April 07, 2014
Proving that healthy dining is more than just an LA fad, vegan chain Café Gratitude founders Matthew and Terces Engelhart have recently unveiled a bigger and fancier concept in the form of Mexican diner Gracias Madre. Heading up their kitchen is executive chef Chandra Gilbert, who has most notably clocked time at the legendary Café Fanny in Berkeley, and uses ingredients sourced from the Engelharts’ very own Be Love Farm, as well as produce from local farmers markets, for her 100% plant-based menu.

The earthy, 5,000 sq ft space designed by Wendy Haworth features high, vaulted ceilings, whitewashed walls and an Oaxacan-tiled bar from which Jason Eisner (from Drago Centro) mixes a seasonal program, with cocktails like the mezcal-based El Guey Aguanta mixed with almond milk horchata, house-made cinnamon syrup and grated cinnamon. These tipples serve as a smooth accompaniment indeed to Gilbert’s plates of butternut squash quesadillas with spicy chipotle nacho cheese (actually derived from cashews); potato-masa gorditas topped with salsa verde, avocado and cashew cream; and agar-based flan with burnt sugar caramel coating. Book well ahead for a perch on their patio, an oasis of 80-year-old olive trees, stone-top tables and a white brick fireplace – ay Madre!

8905 Melrose Ave / WeHo / +1 323 978 2170 / 11am-11pm daily / book ahead /