A recently closed Sebastopol barbecue restaurant will soon become a vegan kitchen space for Goatlandia, a rescue sanctuary for farm animals.
“I love the notion of changing a meat-based barbecue restaurant into a compassionate kitchen,” said Deborah Blum, founder and executive director of Sebastopol’s Goatlandia. Affordable rent also influenced the decision to take over the former Bar B Que Smokehouse Bistro at 6811 Laguna Park Way, she said.
Goatlandia Farm Animal Sanctuary rescues unwanted, orphaned, abused and neglected farm animals, including goats, sheep, pigs, horses, birds and dogs.
Before her nonprofit work, Blum was a professional chef who turned her cooking efforts to plant-based meals in 2011. In 2016, she began a catering kitchen for the nonprofit to supplement traditional fundraising. Obligated to rent a commercial kitchen for the catering work, she had long wanted her own space to grow the vegan catering business that serves private parties, companies and other nonprofits.
“What started as a revenue source for us became advocacy,” said Blum, who co-owns Wild Seed vegan restaurant in Palo Alto. The meat-free meals allow her to teach others about vegan cuisine, animal welfare and healthy eating.
“We believe that eating plant-based is not only good for the animals we share the planet with, but also beneficial for our health and the environment,” Blum said.
“Cooking really good plant-based food for people is how to make a change. The food is a bridge.”
Rather than reopening as a restaurant, Goatlandia Kitchen will offer pop-ups and cater “Lunchtime Takeover,” free plant-based, organic lunches to local businesses. The kitchen will also be available to other vegan chefs who want to collaborate with Goatlandia on food events or create vegan foods.
After some minor renovations, she hopes to open the kitchen in early 2023.