Tag Archives: NYC raw food restaurants

RAW SOUL LIVES ON! the rumors are wrong!

For the past four or five months, I’ve been hearing that Raw Soul, the wonderful raw vegan restaurant in Harlem, was closing, or had already closed.

Tonight, I finally decided to go to the source and ask Lillian and Eddie, themselves.

I was happily surprised to receive a message back from them within a few short hours — they say

“No sister Margaret it is not true.  They are just that, rumors!   Come on
over and see us, we look forward to serving you.  Thank you for your concern
and love.”

Please go to visit this restaurant, patronize the business, to help keep them here with us.  Raw Soul is probably the best affordable raw vegan restaurant we have here.  The food is delicious and they also offer things not found elsewhere (particularly their rejuvelac by the gallon!)

If I could afford it, I would go there every week.  What I can do is urge you to go to this simple, pleasant cafe style restaurant and enjoy a meal there.



When I prepare food, I do try to be mindful: to start with: I think about what foods will best combine together to make what I have in mind, then I think about the vegetables/fruit/nuts/seeds I am using, and thank them for their contribution; I also think about the people who will be eating my food (if I am preparing for others), and  about how I will enjoy the food (if it is for me).   I strive to think happy thoughts while I am preparing food, because I believe that will help the food be better, tastier, more nutritious, and more digestible.

So, tonight, as I was preparing one of my favorites — massaged and marinated kale and collards, I started to think about Lillian Butler, who taught me how to make marinated greens.  I took a wonderful raw food training at Raw Soul, the restaurant that Lillian and her husband, Eddie, had in Harlem.  That training was very fruitful in very many ways.  Although I have been raw for a long time, it was the first time that I have met, in person, other people interested in raw food.  That was pretty exciting!

Last week, at Bebe’s raw food meet-up at Bonobo’s, I heard that Raw Soul has closed!  I was shocked!  Every time I had gone to Raw Soul, it had always been busy, even to the point that sometimes you had to ask a stranger if you could share their table, so I had always figured that they were making money.  They had a brisk take-out business, and they were the only place where you could get a gallon of rejuvelac to take home.  In addition to all of that, they offered raw food trainings, to teach people how to eat properly and prepare delicious food.  They had even started a chef training, which I was hoping to be able to take some day (right about the time they started it, my job went south, so I could not take the training right away)

What are Lillian and Eddie doing now?  Why did they close Raw Soul?  Did they make enough money to retire on and decide to go off and live on an island?  Did they decide to eat meat?  What happened?  No information is available on the grapevine.

I still smiled as I massaged my greens, remembering the night when we made our graduation dinner at Raw Soul, and the beautiful, enviably big steel bowl I was in charge of held all those greens and other ingredients, and how my own two hands could get in there and massage those greens until the mass was 1/3 of the original size, and how it tasted when we put our whole dinner together.

Even if Raw Soul is gone, every time I make greens, I will always have a beautiful memory to think on as I make the dish.

I’m sad that Raw Soul is gone. It was such a wonderful place.  I imagined that Lillian and Eddie had an outreach mission to teach the Harlem community about the raw food lifestyle, and about eating properly, and eating well.  Perhaps they did.  Perhaps they found it difficult to do what they had originally envisioned.  I can only hope that they have found something better to do, that satisfies their longings and desires and brings them prosperity.

I will miss Raw Soul.

Rockin Raw – new rawstaurant in Brooklyn

I’ve just run across mention of a new raw restaurant in Brooklyn — it does sound good!

For a review, go here:  http://thediscerningbrute.com/2009/06/04/rockin-raw-williamsburgs-first-raw-restaurant/

For the restaurant menu and particulars, go here:  Rockin Raw


This afternoon, I discovered a very lovely new raw restaurant
Sal Anthony’s The City Gardener. Someone at work had dropped a menu from the place, and when I saw the word RAW, I scooped it up. Interestingly, the name of one of my students was written on it, so I was doubly intrigued.

I decided to go down to the place today, since it is just off Union Square, and today is a farmer’s market day, so I could troll for interesting vegetables.

The City Gardener is at 119 E. 17th St. btween Irving Pl. and Park Ave. South, in Manhattan. The locale is cozy, with a cafe/diner atmosphere. The front ceiling to floor glass doors are folded open onto the street in good weather lending a nice atmosphere – today was a bit cool, so I hid at table behind a shelf of dried raspberries.

I ordered the Dagwood Sun Burger because they said it was on a flat bread – my only complaint is that they should have said it was a sandwich between two crackers – let’s remember that I am the lazy chewer– I ended up eating it with a fork and knife and eating the crackers separately. The taste was fabulous. I did eat one bite of the burger cum “flat bread”, which was a very tasty experience. The burger on its own with the residue of the avocado dressing and the tomato, was scrumptious. The “bread/cracker” was equally delicious. The tastes complemented one another nicely.

While I was eating, I was surprised to see my student working there. He sent me a wonderful Lacuma Brownie” on the house. That made it taste even better. I do not usually eat dessert type foods, so it was a real treat.

On the way out, I decided to get an order of lasagna to share with my room-mate for dinner tonight. What a good idea – the lasagna was quite tasty. I want the recipe.

The prices at this cozy restaurant are highly competitive with any of the raw restaurants in town. I highly recommend you visit it soon.

RAW SOUL: Unique New York City Raw Food Training

One of the best raw food training programs I have seen is the one offered by Lillian Butler, and her husband Eddie, through their wonderful restaurant, Raw Soul, in Harlem, in New York City.

I have followed a raw food lifestyle pretty much since the early 1970s. Among the earliest books I discovered on the subject were Ann Wigmore’s and Viktoras Kulvinskas’ books, so I have always felt fairly well versed in their theories.

I signed up for the Raw Soul program in the fall of 2006, as soon as I discovered it, as it was a Wigmore-based program, and, also, because it was the only raw food program in the City. Attending involved a trek to a new neighborhood for me (always a nervous-making experience – will I get lost? Will I arrive late? Will I be able to locate the place once I am in the neighborhood?) I needn’t have worried – Raw Soul is less than a block from the 145th Street Station on the E train,, and the Raw Soul sign is big.

That first lesson, an introduction to the living foods lifestyle, was very informative. While it was structured and targeted for people who might or might not understand the concept of living foods, and likely had little background, I found a great deal of inspiration. The materials Lillian provided (an extensive training manual, actually), were thorough and well-written. Lillian was a gracious and patient instructor… It would have been difficult for anyone not to be infected with and inspired by her joy and enthusiasm. I eagerly looked forward to the next lesson, even though I was giving up my beloved yoga classes to attend this program!!!

The program, delivered weekly, over four Monday nights, thoroughly covered the raw food lifestyle, and an added benefit was that we were all treated to a raw meal each time we came!!!!

There was homework not just reading, but actually doing!!! We even had to make Rejuvelac and bring it in for critique!!! As an instructor, myself, I was thoroughly impressed with how Lillian had managed to incorporate hands-on training into such a compact program!!! She somehow managed to not only get all of us to understand Rejuvelac and wheat-grass growing basics, but also to have a healthy knowledge of the various things that can be done with a food processor, a VitaMix, a dehydrator, and a spirooli (I had never heard of one before). Lillian even covered more esoteric program basics (like enemas– no, we did not have hands-on practice in class). In the last class, we received recipes, and all of the students worked cooperatively to make our “graduation dinner”. What a treat!!!!

One of the nicest things about the training, for me, was to meet, in a warm atmosphere, “real-time” people from all walks of life who are interested in a raw food lifestyle. That experience, alone, my first since I began to follow a raw food lifestyle, has been tremendously inspirational (I simply never knew that so many people were doing what I was doing).

There are no words to recommend the Raw Soul program highly enough. Lillian, like many others, took an Ann Wigmore-based training, yet she has been inspired to bring what she has learned to the community in which she lives, in an accessible, do-able way. I cannot thank or praise her enough for her work. There is, as far as I know, no other work such as hers. Her company is very aptly named “Labor of Love”.

While the price has risen since I took part in the program, it is still a bargain. Each night, participants partake of a delicious raw food meal before the lesson. This pleasant feature of the course offers students a chance to hobnob with classmates, and learn what each other is doing, has discovered, or wants to check out next. Those moments were priceless for me.

Raw Soul is located at:
348 W. 145th Street (btw St. Nicholas & Edgecombe Aves.)
145th St. Station on the E line.
New York, NY 10039
T: 212-491-5859
348 W. 145th Street
(between St. Nicholas and Edgecombe Avenues)
New York, NY 10039
T: 212-491-5859
email: rawsoul@rawsoul.com