Look no further Ottawa foodies—your new favourite spot just opened, and it might be coming your way shortly. Gather Café + Kitchen is a new food truck, serving up wholesome, plant-powered food to Ottawa; and with a bright pink truck, you can’t miss them coming.
Not only does this café + kitchen serve up delicious vegan eats, but their heartwarming journey from idea to business is one sure to inspire. We chatted with owner, chef, and entrepreneur Emily Anderson about the process of opening her dream business in the middle of a global pandemic.
Anderson’s story isn’t without its challenges, having been laid off from work in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was faced with a future of uncertainty. “I spent my spring and summer cooking and creating in my home kitchen,” says Anderson—and this exploration was the catalyst for her to make her dreams a reality, “It’s been a dream of mine to open a plant-based café and creative community space. After the uncertainty, heaviness, and challenges of this past year, I felt as though – if not now, when?”
After researching storefronts, Anderson felt hesitant of signing a lease in such unpredictable times. Determined to make her vision for Gather a reality, she switched focus and started exploring the idea of a food truck, pouring hours of time into finding the perfect fit for her needs. “Starting a business during the pandemic was not without its hiccups – cue the busiest delivery season ever and a lack of old delivery vehicles to be found anywhere in December while I was searching for a truck! Luckily, as it goes with life, things often work out in the end. Rosie the Gather food truck (yes, she has a name!) has been transformed from an old linen vehicle into the truck of my dreams thanks to the help of Venture Food Trucks in Napanee”
‘Rosie’ the food truck has since been transformed into a bright pink representation of the principles Anderson holds dear, “Gather began as such a broad idea, and overtime has evolved to encompass values that are important to me – community, warmth, plant-based food, creativity, and connection. I wanted my ‘space’ to feel inviting, not just to the vegan community but to anyone looking to enjoy a yummy meal in a cute setting while supporting local. The Gather motto “there is goodness on the horizon” serves as my daily reminder that through it all, there is hope and love around the corner.”
After a successful opening weekend, the future is bright for Gather Café + Kitchen, “I hope to continue growing Gather with the greater Ottawa community and beyond. There’s not much else in this world that brings me more joy than gathering people around for a nourishing meal, with a shared gratitude that connects us. I am open to wherever this journey leads me,” says Anderson.
Follow Gather on Instagram to stay up to date on their pop-up locations and be sure to stop by to try their assortment of drinks, baked goods, and nourishing bowls. In the words of Anderson, there is goodness on the horizon—hopefully in the form of a little pink food truck driving to a street near you.
By Maija Stevenson