Eating & Drinking

Plant-based, gluten-free, organic goodness — Pure HQ opens on Preston

With the opening of a Pure Kitchen location on Preston Street, the Pure brand has established itself as an Ottawa powerhouse for clean eating and healthy living. That’s to say nothing of the added benefits of bending yourself into a pretzel at one of their studios if you are a yoga practitioner.

Born of a partnership between Jen Dalgleish and Amber Stratton, friends since sixth grade and the founders of Pure Yoga, and Olivia and Kyle Cruikshank, who met at Wilfrid Laurier University, Pure is many things to many people, but to foodies it’s a place to find tasty vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free food, as well as cold pressed, organic juices.

Pure has become a go-to place for healthy food, both in their grab-and-go offerings and their popular eateries. Photos by Tara Porter

The Preston location, which opened in early January, is now the central provisory for all four Pure locations. It’s 4,000 square feet of open, contemporary space, with floor to ceiling glass looking onto Preston Street. The space was formerly occupied by Salt Lounge.

As you line-up to order your Korean cauliflower wings or mushroom-walnut burger, or to pay for your salad and cold-pressed juice, you can see into the bright kitchen to your left. An army of cooks beaver away to prepare custom-order juices for a January cleanse, chop up to 30 cases of cauliflower and kale daily, and hand cut between 100 and 150 pounds of potatoes to make French fries. (After all, even the supremely health conscious fall off the wagon occasionally and a great serving of fries is the perfect way to do this.)

Everything is made in-house, from ketchup to Worcestershire sauce, veggie burgers to dumplings, fresh juices to coconut “bacon”, falafel to Thai red curry sauce. Having a single central kitchen that prepares 90 per cent of Pure fare is great for continuity and consistency. Just a few items — such as sauerkraut, by Juniper Farms in Wakefield — are made elsewhere. During the growing season, vegetables are sourced locally and organically where possible, and fresh firm tofu is made just across the river at Soyarie in Gatineau.

The new locations boasts a walk-in fridge the size of a small shipping container, which is packed to the rafters on a Tuesday morning. There’s also a flash freezer, two giant combi-ovens, deep fryers and a wall lined by the necessities for producing more than 1000 litres of fresh juice weekly. All systems go!

The menu is identical at all four Pure locations. Favourites include the Royale mushroom walnut burger, the Radical Korean cauliflower wings, and Belle poutine, made with mushroom gravy rather than any meat products. These are the all-out good-for-you versions of otherwise bad-for-you pub menu staples.

A selection of grab-and-go boxes offers plenty of options for a filling lunch.

Pure Kitchen, 345A Preston St. Open Monday to Friday 6.30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.