SALUD! LIVE KITCHEN & JUICE BAR

Food: () Delicious breakfasts and lunches, all prepared without formal cooking.

Service: () Diners order at the counter and wait for food and drinks to be delivered.

Atmosphere: () Tiny, cluttered and colorful, with eight small tables and patio seating.

More Info

Location: 431 NW Franklin Ave., Suite 150, Bend

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday

Cuisine: Raw vegan and vegetarian

Price range: Small plates $6.50 to $8.50, breakfasts and salads $7.50 to $14.50, tacos and collard wraps $12.50, beverages $5 to $10

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa

Kids’ menu: Tacos, nachos and smoothies are popular

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Everything

Alcoholic beverages: No

Outdoor seating: Seasonal

Reservations: No

Contact: www.saludrawfoods.com, 541-678-5368

For more area restaurant reviews, visit bendbulletin.com/restaurants

When Corrine O’Shea opened the Salud! Live Kitchen & Juice Bar in September 2013, she was a pioneer in the vegetarian and raw-foods dining movement in Central Oregon.

She wasn’t the first. Sarah’s Raw & Vegan Café, which is closed, was serving a daily special to complement its broader menu of “superfood smoothies.” But Salud! had more to offer: tacos, collard wraps, salads, small plates and even breakfasts.

Despite the cafe’s discreet location, set back from Franklin Avenue beside the Re/Max real estate offices in downtown Bend, Salud! has survived and paved the way for several other local vegetarian restaurants.

“It’s been a lot of work,” O’Shea said. “But we’ve been sustained by some amazing regulars who have been coming here four times a week for five years.”

The space is tiny, cluttered and colorful. Eight small tables, each with a bouquet of fresh flowers, seat 16 guests. When winter snows melt, there’s additional outdoor seating. Diners order at the counter from O’Shea or a co-worker, who deliver food and drinks directly to the tables with a smile.

Organic foods

Raw food aficionados won’t heat any ingredient above 118 degrees. Anything higher, they claim, will kill enzymes, along with vitamins and minerals. O’Shea transgresses in winter, when she offers a daily bowl of hot soup to combat the temperatures outdoors.

I was glad for the boost of warmth on a recent snowy-day visit. A cup of savory sweet-potato and spinach soup ($4 a cup, $7 a bowl) tasted plenty healthy to me. The tang of turmeric, ginger, black pepper and garlic gave it plenty of flavor.

But O’Shea doesn’t compromise on her promise to serve all organic dishes free not only of meat, but also without gluten, soy, corn, eggs, dairy or peanuts.

One Salud! breakfast, labeled “Over the Moon,” demonstrates how skill with a food dehydrator and a blender can turn nut meats, for instance, into something very different than they appear to be. Scrambled eggs and sausage? The eggs are cashews with turmeric. Ground walnuts with anise seeds, fresh sage and maple syrup go into the “meat” patty.

Cloaked in a slightly heated, egg-free Hollandaise sauce, the pairing is mutually complementary — better together than on their own. Tomato, avocado, arugula and microgreens finish the dish ($14.50 for a full plate, $9.50 for half), which is served with fresh fruit (blueberries and diced pineapple on my visit).

Other breakfasts are a Bliss Out Burrito with maple-coconut “bacon” ($11.50) and a G“raw”nola bowl ($7.50).

Wraps and tacos

Collard wraps (five choices, all $12.50) are the most popular items on the menu. The falafel wrap doesn’t use traditional chickpeas or garbanzo beans, which must be cooked or soaked and sprouted “in a really long process,” O’Shea said. Instead, she makes falafel from a mix of nuts and dehydrated sesame seeds, sunflower-seed hummus and olive tapenade. Cashew-dill tzatziki sauce injects moisture. Tomato basil salad, carrot, cucumber and romaine lettuce complete the mix.

Other wraps include the Island Style (with mango and almond-pineapple sauce), the Mock Tuna and the Marrakech Tang.

My dining companion raved about her spicy Say “Olé” Tacos ($12.50). The main ingredient — a “bean” pâté of sunflower seeds blended with chipotle peppers — filled a trio of romaine shells. Cashew sour “cream” accented additional ingredients, including tomato, cabbage, green onion, cilantro and avocado. Roasted pepitas (sunflower seeds) dusted with red pepper was offered in a side cup.

I would return to Salud! just for its tropically themed Thai salad ($14.50). Fresh mixed greens tossed with mint and cilantro, curried cashews, slices of red bell pepper, pineapple and avocado were served with a Thai ginger dressing that added just the right amount of spiciness.

Salud! also serves a Greek salad ($14.50) and a rainbow salad ($13.50, half-sized $7.50).

Small plates include nachos ($6.50) — with dehydrated sweet-potato chips, vegan cheese and imitation ground beef, made of walnuts seasoned with chili powder, cumin and cilantro — and wontons ($8.50), a veggie dish with cashew cream cheese wrapped in coconut paper.

On occasional Wednesdays, O’Shea said, Salud! offers a pastrami Reuben. Thinly shaved beets, marinated with a peppery sauce, are layered with house-made sauerkraut on gluten-free live onion bread.

The cafe’s menu of beverages is even longer than its choice of foods. Smoothies, with a base of house-made almond milk (priced $8 to $10), included my companion’s favorite, the Blueberry Banana Bomb with additional dates and cashews. My more traditional Caramel Coffee ($7) featured vanilla, dates and sea salt. And there’s an extensive choice of organic juices.

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached janderson@bendbulletin.com .

22704703