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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Garden state of mind

    Jim O’Rourke
    Jim O’Rourke / Daily Wildcat Food Service/coy pond/ compound Godivia Restaurant

    Not all restaurant owners can say their menu items are carefully prepared by monks, or that the building is attached to a temple, or that their guests can enjoy the company of live macaws in the dining room — Govinda’s Natural Foods Buffet offers all these features and is still adding on with the celebration of the opening of its new library this Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. including, of course, vegetarian refreshments and snacks.

    Open since 1992, Govinda’s is a nonprofit organization and restaurant known for its vegan and vegetarian options as well as its therapeutic atmosphere. Its resort-like environment, attached to a Hare Krishna temple, is enclosed within a colorfully decorated oasis.

    If you’re feeling adventurous, wander inside and kick off your shoes, sit cross-legged on the floor and eat in the temple room. The free Wi-Fi and the quiet atmosphere makes it an ideal place to escape to finish a paper or study for an exam.

    The restaurant has served as a Hare Krishna center for prayer, meditation and transcendental classes for almost 25 years. The Hare Krishna monks, many of whom live on the property, are the chefs in the kitchen and have been specially trained to cook the vegetarian dishes.

    The monks cook with only good intentions, and make the food gently and kindly, so that when you eat it, you feel well, said Gene Filaseta of the temple management team. Filaseta added that each worker considers it his or her job to be morally pure in order to serve food that “nourishes the whole being.”

    Govinda’s serves only organic produce, including raw, unprocessed grains and unrefined sugars. All the employees, from cooks to dishwashers, are vegetarian. The restaurant’s chefs also make their own cheese and grind their own spices. Food at the buffet is at least 75 percent vegan, although Govinda’s offers a completely vegan menu on Thursdays and Indian food specials on Tuesdays.

    “The flavors mix well together,” said Shaina Shay, a senior studying French and environment and water resource economics. She explained that she enjoys Govinda’s medley of organic salad dressings, including cashew dressing and sweet mustard dressing, which she mixed together on her salad instead of choosing only one.

    Govinda’s also features samosas, homemade apricot bread, vegetarian sloppy joes, eggplant parmesan, lentil croquettes and scrambled tofu for their Sunday brunches.

    Govinda’s is a buffet, but the goal isn’t to eat as much as possible. Instead, it’s all about enjoying the flavors, the process of eating and the atmosphere of the restaurant.

    Conn Huffaker, who was visiting from Wisconsin, said he found Govinda’s to be peaceful.

    “The grounds are very attractive with the birds and koi,” Huffaker said, commenting on the surroundings with peacocks, a waterfall and guest accommodations.

    Govinda’s also has a gift shop, which offers unique treasures such as jewelry, candles, incense, books, CDs and more, all imported directly from India, Thailand, Nepal and Bali.

    Make sure you walk around outside during your visit to Govinda’s Natural Foods Buffet. Whether you find yourself reflecting near the koi pond, peering at the peacocks and parakeets, or stumbling across the many Hare Krishna sculptures, Govinda’s is sure to be a cultural experience for anyone interested in visiting.

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