The Green Door Restaurant
By Mara Munro

Ahead of the curve

In 1988, the culinary landscape of Canada was not as green as it is today. When Ron Farmer and Poppy Weaver decided to open their own vegetarian restaurant in downtown Ottawa, their dietary and business tastes were way ahead of the curve.

"They opened The Green Door Restaurant because they were both vegetarians and there wasn’t anything like it around," explains Nathan Armstrong, the restaurant manager. "It was one of the first purely vegetarian restaurants in Ottawa."

Ron and Poppy's passion project became the passion of many diners in the neighbourhood as well – The Green Door Restaurant is now busier than ever.

Even people who aren’t vegetarian always find something they like. The whole family can come here and find something they can all enjoy. - Nathan Armstrong, manager
Nathan Armstrong is the manager of The Green Door Restaurant.
Photo by Marine Armstrong
The Green Door Restaurant serves family-friendly vegetarian food.
Photo by Marine Armstrong

Family food

The Green Door Restaurant, with its pay-by-weight, cafeteria-style service, has the warm feel of a family kitchen. Often, a community of diners can be found chatting and mingling at communal tables in a dining room that has tripled in size since the restaurant first opened, now seating 100 hungry souls. The bustling sounds of a room full of customers and the distinct smell of home-cooked food are defining elements of the restaurant's character.

The Green Door Restaurant serves healthy vegetarian and vegan family-friendly lunches and dinners six days a week. With delicious classics and modern recipes, there are over 40 salads, 15 to 20 hot food selections and an array of desserts to choose from. Expect familiar dishes like lasagna, quinoa salad and sushi, along with tasty sides like veggie fritters, broccoli and mashed potatoes. And for dessert, how about chocolate or carrot cake?

"Even people who aren’t vegetarian always find something they like," notes Nathan. "The whole family can come here and find something they can all enjoy."

The Green Door Restaurant offers a family-friendly atmosphere in a dining room that seats 100 people.
Photo by Marine Armstrong

Ingredients you can trust

The Green Door caters to all allergies and food sensitivities, which are clearly marked beside each dish. "Everything we make is from scratch so we know every single ingredient. We don’t use refined sugar and use only organic sea salt," Nathan explains.

Whenever possible, The Green Door Restaurant cooks with local and seasonal ingredients, which means that there's always a slight variation in their menu. "Our artichokes, parsnips, rutabaga, beets and apples are all local," says Nathan. "One of my favourite parts of the job is interacting with the farmers."

Some of the produce is imported, of course – how else would they make their famous avocado salad? "Our most popular dishes are our tofu broccoli stir-fry and avocado salad. We go through over 50 boxes of avocados a week!" laughs Nathan.

The Green Door Restaurant serves family-friendly vegetarian food.
Photo by Marine Armstrong

A hub for Ottawa's health-conscious community

While they may not be in the kitchen every day anymore, owners Ron Farmer and Poppy Weaver are still very involved in the restaurant.  Ron travels to India two or three times a year and brings back spices that are used in the restaurant's dahls and curries, while Poppy teaches seasonal cooking classes.

The Green Door Restaurant has been a hub for Ottawa's vegetarian and health-conscious community for almost two decades and, today, that legacy is still going strong. Nathan says, "There's more and more interest in eating vegan and vegetarian food, so we are busier and than ever!"

[Header photo by Marine Armstrong]

The Green Door Restaurant serves family-friendly vegetarian food.
Photo by Marine Armstrong
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