By Kaitlyn Schallhorn (Courtesy photo)
The staff at Seva Cafe has been serving busy Alexandrians for several months, but that didn’t stop Del Ray residents from officially welcoming the neighborhood’s latest addition this month.
Co-owner Dan Bender founded the business in October, but it wasn’t until he met his two collaborators that Seva Cafe really came to fruition. The restaurant had “found its voice,” he said.
“The neighborhood needed a place where you could get something delicious and get it on your own schedule because we’re all busy here,” Bender said. “Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a big government exec, we all have important jobs.”
Their mission — Tania Leach and Jawad Laouaouda round out the triumvirate — was to create what Bender describes as a “farm-centric” style restaurant with a fast and casual atmosphere meant for “whatever your space in life is.”
While the cafe focuses on the importance of healthy eating, Bender said the establishment recognizes that the term means different things to different people. The restaurant strives to serve everyone, from the athlete who craves additional carbs to the vegan who needs more greens.
“We all have our own path,” he said.
Bender has never worked in the restaurant business, even as a server, but he does know a thing or two about keeping healthy. The father of three also owns Vital Mind and Body, a nearby wellness center, and helps his wife with her yoga business.
Between a playroom for children and a conference room for meetings on the second floor, Seva Cafe hopes to meet all the needs of the Del Ray community.
“As a neighbor who lives just a few blocks away, I can tell you how excited we are to have them in the neighborhood and especially how excited we will be to be able to purchase fresh, healthy, ready-to-cook meals,” said Gayle Reuter, a board member of the Del Ray Business Association.
Seva Cafe, located at 2016 Mount Vernon Ave., hosted Mayor Bill Euille and other local luminaries March 1 for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. The restaurant typically is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.