Restaurant Review: The Loving Cafe in Delmar, NY

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The Loving Cafe is located at 318 Delaware Ave. in Delmar, NY, at the former site of Java Jazz Cafe.  Since the disgusting heat finally seems to have broken around here, I ventured out today for lunch with my mom.

Like Java Jazz, the cafe serves coffee, tea, and a variety of specialty coffee drinks.  Unlike Java Jazz, they also offer a completely vegan menu comprised of foods like burgers and BLTs; wraps, sandwiches, and bagel sandwiches; soups and salads; and a variety of noodle and rice dishes.  Vegan “meats” include ham, steak, fish fillet, shrimp, and seafood salad.  There are also a few things featuring vegan cheese, like a grilled cheese sandwich, ham and cheese, and mac & cheese.  Currently there are no dessert options aside from a few muffins, but the available space in the bakery case makes me hopeful that some will appear in the future.

I wasn’t feeling too adventurous, so I ordered a hummus sandwich on a multigrain bagel, which came with chips and coleslaw.  My mom ordered sesame noodles with fish and a side of veggies.  Looking around while we waited was a little weird for me, since I remember the place from when it was Java Jazz.  The layout was pretty much the same, but I missed the locally-created art that used to hang on the walls.  However, it was nice to see the muffins, once a staple of Java Jazz (and now vegan!), for sale up front.  They apparently also sell pints of Rice Dream ice cream, but it was currently out of stock.

Our food arrived in a decent amount of time.  My sandwich was well stacked with veggies of all kinds-carrots, peppers, pickles, tomato, lettuce, and onion.  The bagel was hearty and had a good texture to it, which the hummus accented well.

The hummus itself was pretty awesome.  Thinner than the kind I make, but very garlicky with a nice hint of lemon.  I didn’t know if I was going to want the whole sandwich in one sitting, but it was so good that I wound up polishing it off.  The chips seemed to be your garden-variety thin potato chip, but tasted like they may have been kettle-cooked.  The coleslaw was also pretty typical, with shredded cabbage and carrots, but the dressing was yellow and had an enjoyable hint of dijon or similar type of mustard.

The noodle dish my mom ordered came, rather oddly, with everything separated on the plate.  When I order noodle dishes out somewhere, I usually think of noodles topped with their accompaniment.

My mom found the initial mix of vegetables to be too salty and was able to get a new batch without a problem.  She really enjoyed the fish fillet, which she assured me was authentic enough to fool even my dad, who used to be rather fond of a certain fast food fish sandwich.  The sesame noodles were tossed lightly with oil and black sesame seeds; again, my mom appreciated that they went light on the oil instead of drowning the noodles in it like some restaurants do.

When you take portion size into account, prices at The Loving Cafe vary from reasonable to high.  I considered what I paid for my sandwich to be decent and comparable to other places that offer sandwich shop fare.  My mom’s dish, however, was less than half the size of what we’ve come to expect when we eat out.  We’re used to being able to save half our lunch to eat for dinner or have the next day, and at Loving Cafe we weren’t able to do that.  So in that regard, we were both a little disappointed.  I’m also not sure how I felt about the presentation of food on paper plates with plastic utensils.  I wouldn’t count this against The Loving Cafe, since I’ve eaten at other perfectly good establishments that do the same thing, but personally I prefer traditional restaurant place settings.  That’s probably my hangup!

All in all, I wanted to love the Loving Cafe.  The prospect of having a 100% vegan eatery at least somewhat close by was exciting, but my experience there was unfortunately anticlimactic.  Other vegan restaurants I’ve eaten at have personality that Loving Cafe seems to lack.  Granted, right now they’re operating under a “soft opening,” meaning that they’re still getting the feel for the way they want to operate when they officially open.  I’m hoping by then, they get their prices and portion sizes sorted out so that local vegans can really enjoy themselves there.

If you’re in the Delmar, NY area and want to check the place out, I recommend the sandwiches.  But as of yet, The Loving Cafe isn’t a vegan eatery worth making a special trip to check out.' About The Author

Sam has been a vegan since summer of 2009 and has spent the subsequent years experimenting with all manner of vegan food. She holds a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and is a graduate of the Bauman College Nutrition Consultant Program. She is a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals as well as Toastmasters International and currently serves as Vice President Membership of the Capital View Toastmasters club. When she's not blogging or cooking, Sam likes to read, play silly card games and knit socks.

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11 comments for “Restaurant Review: The Loving Cafe in Delmar, NY

  1. 07/25/2011 at 7:19 PM

    Thanks for the review. I drive past the Loving Cafe every day to get to work, but haven’t had a chance to stop in yet. I’ll hold out until they are officially open to check it out. I hope they do get desserts in the display case. I love vegan chocolate cake!

      07/25/2011 at 7:47 PM

      If you need a quick lunch, the sandwiches are good. But I’m hoping they’ll hit their stride by the time they’re officially open.

      (And cake is awesome. I’ve been itching to bake cupcakes. >.>)

  2. Lynne
    07/29/2011 at 2:36 PM

    Thanks for this. I was going to drive an hour to eat there this weekend, but now that I know they serve the food with disposable plates and utensils, I think I’ll skip. I can’t stand wastefulness, no matter how good the food might be.

      07/29/2011 at 5:04 PM

      I don’t know where you’re located, but there are a few other vegan options in the Albany/Troy area. I’m heading over to All Good Bakers tomorrow to try their vegan sandwich special, and X’s to O’s Vegan Bakery has a brunch every other Saturday. :) I’ve heard that Lil Buddha Tea in Albany went all-vegan recently, too, but I haven’t had a chance to get there.

      • Lynne
        07/30/2011 at 12:18 PM

        I love Xs to Os brownies! I’ve never tried All Good Bakers, though. Maybe next weekend. :)

          07/30/2011 at 12:57 PM

          I just tried All Good’s lunch special today-awesome. I’ll be reviewing them soon!

  3. Betsy
    08/06/2021 at 10:16 PM

    Hi all,
    We really need vegan places in the Capital District Area and I REALLY hope folks support this cafe. I SURE plan on to!! Thank you to The Loving Cafe for being there for us!! PLEASE support them and also let them know what you like I’m sure they would like to know. Peace, Betsy

  4. Robin
    09/13/2011 at 1:24 PM

    The disposable plates are compostable, I believe. My take out container was.

  5. Jake
    11/01/2022 at 7:25 PM

    I eat here everyday on my lunch break. I never loved to eat at a place as much as this! Always fantastic super-friendly service. They will always prepare things they way you ask and will make things for you even if it’s not on the menu.
    The owner is the sweetest person. They often have a special get together on Saturdays also. The ocean crabby wraps are supremely awesome. The chili is phenomenal. If you have an idea on how to make a dish better for your liking, you will be accommodated! I’ve been vegan for almost 9 years now,this place is a long-awaited blessing!

  6. 11/13/2011 at 9:52 AM

    I drive by there often as I live not too far from it - but have yet to stop. Mostly because hubby won’t go with me. I’m hoping that by now they have made a few improvements according to your review here. I love to know there is a vegan place close by. I’m definitely going to try it out soon. I don’t mind smaller portions myself!

  7. Christine
    11/21/2011 at 2:54 PM

    I’ve only been vegan since September but having The Loving Cafe in my town has made it so much easier. Being a full time student and working two jobs doesn’t give me much time to prepare my own food and as many of us know vegan food can be hard to come by. The Loving Cafe has been serving food on real plates since I’ve been eating there, so at least since September. I believe the portions are also getting better, I believe the sizes are made that way also to prevent waste, no everyone is going to take their food home so it goes in the trash, which isn’t sustainable - neither is a to go container if it’s not necessary. So in all, I beleive everyone should give it a try because even if you can’t get past the word “vegan” I’m sure you can agree with the word “cookie” when it’s made fresh daily and tastes out of this world!

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