LIHUE — Healthy food that’ll stick with you. That’s what’s on the menu at The Greenery Café.
The restaurant, surrounded by a garden and tucked behind a cottage on Akahi Street, boasts a mix of southern soul food and Filipino favorites, all designed to be hearty with a healthy twist.
“Healthy food is happy food,” said Dayne Greene, who owns and operates the café with his wife Neina. “Healthy food lifts you up, and it should taste good.”
Food should have that dual purpose of filling the belly and soothing the soul, but Greene says it should also come at a fair price.
“It should fill you up and be substantial, and it shouldn’t harm you. You should feel good after eating,” Greene said. “The goal is to provide high quality food at an affordable price.”
The restaurant’s signature rosemary chicken dish, for example, is marinated only in house spices — including the rosemary plucked from the garden for which it gets its name.
And the dish’s inception was as organic as the chicken thighs that are used.
“When we got here (to the cafe’s current location) we had a bunch of rosemary and we wanted to use what was around us,” Greene said. “Plus, it’s got great healing properties, so we experimented with that.”
Basil, spearmint, and lemongrass are other herbs that the Greene’s grow in their garden and add into their dishes at the cafe.
“We like to have a variety of flavors,” Greene said.
That variety is evident on their menu, which encompasses things like black-eyed peas, collard greens, yams and potato salad, as well as salmon croquettes and fish plates, and avocado hummus wraps.
Vegetable pancit is also thrown into the mix, as well as various smoothies and juices, coffee and freshly brewed teas.
Neina said there’s one more thing involved in making fresh meals.
“When you have passion for what you’re doing, and you add love into your food, that flavor comes from your love,” Neina said.
Eating organically and cooking with as whole-food ingredients comes naturally to both Neina and Dayne, because both of them grew up in families where meals were cooked at home regularly.
“My mom had her garden and she taught us about moringa and ginger and lemongrass,” Neina said. “His (Dayne’s family) loves to cook, too.”
Neina learned about the medicinal properties of many household herbs from her mother as well and she transfers that into the cafe’s menu.
It was the desire to share the food from their own lifestyle, as well as a desire to share information about healthy living that spurred the couple to start the cafe.
Utensils and take-out containers at The Greenery Café are compostable to reduce waste.
The Greenery Cafe is open Tuesday through Friday, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.