My wife and I were recently in Cocoa Beech, Florida looking for a Vegan restaurant to get something to eat. As usual there was nothing for a Whole Food, Plant-based person. Everything was meat and processed food. So we went to the trusted Google and typed in “Vegan restaurant Cocoa Beech.” We came up the the Green Room and so we put the address into our Garmin and off we went.
We were happy. The restaurant was small, clean, and….well, green (however the bathroom was a light blue). But there was more: it just had a good feeling. Perhaps it was feng shui. The colors were coordinated and soothing. Then I saw sayings from the Old and New Testament subtlety and tastefully hand-painted around the doors and here and there on the walls. I thought, “maybe God’s spirit is here.”
Then came the waitress. We had a personable exchange with her and she told us her autobiography and the biography of the restaurant in a few short sentences. Then she took our orders, while being flexible and creative, so that she could give us what we wanted.
The food was delicious and healthy, as well as varied.
After the dinner, I asked our waitress if I could have a short interview with the owner. I wanted to get the owner’s take on her interpretation of the synthesis between diet and religion. In Catholicism, as many other Christian denominations, I saw no synthesis at all. Diet is hardly mentioned at all. This is in contrast with many of the Eastern religions, as it is with Judaism and with the 7th Day Adventists (who were the forerunners – by 150 years — of the current whole-food, plant-based movement).
I gave the waitress my number and the next day the owner called me and agreed to meet me the next day.
The owner was working in the kitchen when I arrived. I perceived her as being an ordinary, working class kind of woman. She told me how she got into the business:
She had son who was allergic to nearly everything and was often very sickly. Through a simple twist of fate, she heard about the Shackley house-cleaning products, which were mainly natural and green. She decided to try them. Her son’s allergies went down over 50%!
Then she had the thought that if natural and green cleaning products were so good for us, green and natural foods could be the same. She began a mostly vegan diet, and never looked back.
Then like many believers in the American dream, she decided to to make her dream a reality. She decided to open a vegan restaurant which was based on her Christian faith; where it was like a family; where vegans and their non-vegan friends could eat together; and where everyone could walk out healthier and happier.
The dream came true. After almost ten years in existence, most of her employees felt like family and they worked there for years, through thick and thin. Thus the warm feeling I experienced when I walked in. The restaurant was fairly busy, but there was space and time for all. Customers seemed to enjoy the food and the the ambience.
When I asked how religion fit in with all of this, she said that God was in charge of the whole business, and He came first.
During our discussion I mentioned how I had an undiagnosed neurological condition with my legs. She asked if I would like to have prayers for my legs. I asked her if her workers had time for that. She responded that “we always have time for prayer.”
She called some of her staff over, including the cook and our waitress. I sat on a chair, surrounded by them. They laid their hands on me and prayed for a few minutes. The customers didn’t blink an eye.
I thought to myself, this is the American dream: and ordinary woman realizes her fantasy, it works, it works well, and it is a contribution to our economy. (Small businesses are the biggest employers of our workers.)
I left healthier and happier.
The Green Room
222 N 1st St. Cocoa Beech 32931
321- 868 0203
Debbie Wright-Dunn – manager and owner
Hours 10:30 AM – 9 PM, Mon-Sat