McFoster's Natural Kind Café – a stand-by for vegetarians, vegans and organic eaters – is for sale.
Owner Tom Foster said the restaurant is behind $15,000 in property taxes on the building at 38th and Farnam Streets, where it has been in business for more than 18 years. Foster has owned it for 10 of those years.
“We love it here,” Foster said, “and we'd stay if we could pay our bills without raising prices. I don't want to do that. I don't want to put the menu out of reach of ordinary people.”
McFoster's menu is primarily vegetarian, but the restaurant also serves free-range chicken and fresh seafood. Everything on its menu is free of refined flour and sugars, and it uses organic produce from local gardeners.
Foster said the restaurant will stay in business until Feb. 29, when it will close if the owners don't find a buyer. He said the restaurant probably will have some parties to raise money, though he didn't think they'll be able to raise enough. In the meantime, they're considering taking out a loan to cover the taxes. If the restaurant does close, Foster said he's considering moving the operation to the country.
“Ideally, we could find an affluent Omahan that would like to buy it and keep it a natural foods restaurant,” he said. “We have a lot of loyal customers, a great building, a super location. I hate to give up on it.”
John McDevitt, who created Vegan Omaha, said many Omahans got their first exposure to vegan or vegetarian food at McFoster's.
“It was the place where I decided to go vegetarian 11 years ago,” he said. “As silly as it sounds, it was a veggie dog with organic ketchup that helped me with the decision."
He said he thinks the restaurant's closure will have a deep impact on the vegetarian and vegan communities because the restaurant's owners have always been supportive with vegan and vegetarian meetings and bake sales.
-- Sarah Baker Hansen