You can tell a regular here. She might be wearing a Saint Paul University badge. She knows her way round the daily buffet, heading straight for her favourite dishes with a keen sense of what her weighed plate will cost, give or take a quarter. She knows you pile on the roasted potato salad, the spanakopita triangles, the potato-pea samosas, the bulky, yummy cauliflower-cheese and signature lasagne at your wallet’s peril.
If you want to keep a Green Door lunch under 20 bucks – something I’m rarely able to do because I can’t walk by that lasagne (or the tofu and broccoli stir-fry or the splendid avocado salad) – you pile on the leafy greens, the quinoa pilau, Huang’s Rice Noodles, the salad of green and yellow zucchini ribbons. And then you might have a few bucks left to indulge in the house Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with nut crust, and top it with a dollop of the chunky berry sauce.
The Green Door has been quietly getting on with the business of feeding people very well since 1988. After renovations in 2014, it continues to do so in an expanded space with an open kitchen, a larger dining room with beautiful Douglas fir counters and tables, longer shelves for take-home items (oils, vinegars, the house granola), and a less crowded cash-out area.
This is our city’s oldest vegetarian restaurant. Still offering buffet-style service, now with beer and wine, The Green Door kitchen cooks seasonally, sources locally (as much as possible), and offers a broad range of internationally inspired dishes that suit varying tastes and diets. More importantly, its food tastes fresh and delicious.
Eating a plant-based diet in this city is now no biggie. Any restaurant worth its kale salad has something veggie-friendly on its menu. But it wasn’t always thus. And when The Green Door started out, it was in a class all its own.
As it approaches its 30th birthday, I’d like to give The Green Door Restaurant a little shout-out and thank it for its remarkable staying power. Here’s to 30 more…
The Green Door Restaurant, 198 Main Street, 613-234-9597
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 9pm; Buffet style, dishes priced by weight