As I mentioned, I was at a reunion recently. It was at Cape Canaveral, Florida and I went there with my mom, who is a vegetarian. I was a vegetarian for years during and after college, but then I moved to Texas. West Texas. Beef country. I resisted for several years but was that high-maintenance friend that everyone had to work around when deciding where we should eat out. I’m also sort of a quiet person, and can go with the flow, so I rarely spoke up in these discussions. Typically, the decision would be made to go to a BBQ restaurant, then they would look at me with a mixture of sadness and disappointment and say, “Oh, wait, we can’t go there”. I would argue that I can make a meal anywhere and when we did get BBQ, I would happily enjoy a meal of cole slaw and fries. (Beans at a BBQ restaurant usually have meat in them.) These days, more restaurants have vegetarian options and it’s not as challenging to find somewhere to eat where vegetarians and carnivores alike have options. But, when possible, I love to find restaurants whose menus are geared towards vegetarians for mom to be able to look beyond the salad column.
I had done some research ahead of time and found the Green Room Café in nearby Cocoa Beach. This was perfect! Cocoa Beach holds a special place in her heart, and they had a vegetarian restaurant, so I was really looking forward to taking her there.
We went for dinner our first evening there. It had been a gorgeous day and the drive down A1A was rejuvenating. Even if I can’t see the ocean, I can sense it is nearby and I can smell it in the air. My mom spent part of her childhood in Florida and has this periodic need for sand in her shoes.
The Green Room Café is small but doesn’t feel cramped. We were seated near the counter where people came in to pick up take-out orders. It was clear through their conversations that they knew their regular customers. It took me a few minutes to hear the music playing quietly in the background and realize I had been singing along inside my head. It was a Christian praise song. It’s a stereotype I hold that if there is a spiritual aspect to a vegetarian restaurant, that aspect leans toward New Age, so it wasn’t what I expected to hear.
Our waitress was very friendly and helpful and the only one I saw for a while, until a woman I assumed was the owner came out to talk with her customers. She greeted those she didn’t know then sat down with a couple at a table near us. I tried not to eavesdrop but it wasn’t really an option. She talked with the gentleman about today’s soup (and I quickly regretted not ordering it) then talked about a service project her church was doing the next day. The man mentioned that he was having surgery that week so the owner prayed with him. My mom and I stopped eating to silently join in and echoed her “amen” when she finished.
Dinner at the Green Room Café that evening was part of the good around me. I spend a lot of my time with other Christians so prayer for healing isn’t an unusual thing in my world. But that moment of the woman praying for her friend in this sweet restaurant dedicated to good health went beyond feeding my physical needs to also feeding me spiritually. “I’ll pray for you” is a statement I make often, but she went beyond making that promise of a future prayer. She allowed this man to hear her thoughts and desires for his healing, and he wouldn’t have to wonder if her promise slipped her mind before she could fulfill it. She slipped so naturally from conversation with him to conversation to the Great Physician that it was obvious to me that this is part of who she is and what she does. It wasn’t forced or filled with flowery, theological vocabulary. It was heartfelt and a place to take this weight on her heart.
Going to a restaurant that leaves me feeling physically filled is a usual occurrence. Going to one where I feel spiritually gratified is rare. If you are in the Space Coast area and looking to be fed, please check out the Green Room Café.
What is the good you have seen around you recently?