Jenn and Seth Branitz moved from Long Island to New Paltz, a college town in New York’s Hudson Valley, in February of 2007. With two baby sons in tow, and knowing no one, they opened Karma Road Organic Café. Talk about a leap of faith — on top of which, neither of them had any experience in the food business.
Now, more than a dozen years later, Karma Road has a devoted following. The small, cozy space is almost always bustling, especially in the warmer months when visitors flock to New Paltz for hiking, biking, and outdoor activities. Karma serves the kind of clean yet hearty and downright delicious fare that’s perfect for fueling an active day.
But Karma Road isn’t just for rugged outdoorsy type (goodness knows, I’m not!), but anyone who appreciates plant-based food prepared with fresh ingredients and a lot of love. Yes, love is listed as an essential ingredient in Karma’s signature dishes! And it’s 100% vegan, though it pitches itself as an organic café as a way to be more inclusive.
According to Seth, their mission has always been “to ease suffering for animals, humans, and the planet. with delicious plant based foods that everyone likes.”
Seth and Jenn Branitz, co-owners
11 Main Street., New Paltz | 845-255-1099
Karma Road is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8 pm every day except Sunday, which is 8am to 8 pm. Winter hours may vary a bit, so check the website or give a call before you go.
For early birds, there are some great breakfasts to be had, mainly breakfast sandwiches and burritos. And of course, you can have a juice or smoothie with that.
The deli case is a feast of curried stews, fresh slaws and salads, roasted vegetables (the roasted brussels sprouts are my favorite), greens, the burger of the day, 3-grain pizza, and more.
Customers choose from among the offerings in the deli case to build two popular specials — the AffordaBowl and the FlexaBowl. When the weather warms up, there’s a small outdoor seating area where you can enjoy your food.
As a soup fan, I gravitate to their ever-changing varieties. You can sample the soup of the day in a tiny cup to see if it calls to you. If I order soup, I always get a sweet potato biscuits to go with it, toasted and slathered with vegan butter. “We sell gallons of soup even on the hottest summer days,” says Seth. The last soup I sampled was creamy cauliflower, shown above.
There are sandwiches galore to choose from, and they come with a side of the delicious cabbage and kale slaw. When I last visited, my daughter had the TLT (Tempeh Bakon, lettuce, & tomato). Some others always on the menu include the Karma Reuben, Falafel Wrap, and Baked Tofu with Walnut Pesto.
Juices, smoothies, and wheatgrass shots hold a prominent spot in Karma Road’s repertoire. And there are so many choices! Here’s the smoothie menu, above. Seriously, some of these smoothies are a meal in themselves. As for juices, some house favorites are spinach, cucumber, and apple; carrot, celery, and parsley; and carrot apple. You can also concoct your own combination from ingredients listed on the board.
Desserts! There are some seriously dense delectable sweets to choose from. These include OH MY GOD! Chocolate Cake; Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars, Krispy Brown Rice Bars, Fruity Thumbprint Cookies (shown above) and fully loaded muffins. The cookies you see above are set on one of the half dozen or so tables topped with photos of friendly farm animals that we love to look at (but that we would never eat).
If you’re too full after your hearty meal and juice or smoothie, you can always take a dessert to go. You can also get anything from the deli case weighed and packed to take home, or really, anything you want to carry out.
Owners Seth and Jenn have seen interest in plant-based fare grow over the years, as people come to realize that there’s no sacrifice in choosing good-for-you foods. Karma Road’s plant-based comfort food proves the point in a most delicious way.
- See more of our Travel & Dining features.