by Ian McNulty
The food booths at the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo festival, scheduled May 17-19 along Bayou St. John, always provide a good sampling of restaurants from around the neighborhood. Sometimes, they also preview interesting new restaurants on the way. A case in point this year is the Good Karma Prasad Café, a new vegetarian restaurant in the works for Mid-City at 2940 Canal St.
Michelle Baker and business partner Sughosh Berg plan to open Good Karma Prasad Café by the end of the summer inside Swan River Yoga, a yoga studio Baker operates in a historic, former library building. The joining of yoga studio and café is not coincidental.
“We want to present the celebration of food in a different way,” Baker says. “We want to be conscious of the effect food has on our bodies, keeping us healthy. There’s a spiritual aspect, being more mindful of what we do. And there’s the effect that our food choices have on the planet. All of that goes into eating with greater consciousness.”
She says the fully vegetarian restaurant will also be "vegan friendly" and will source as much organic and local produce as possible. Indian flavors will have a prominent role on the menu, she says, but there will also be an emphasis on Southern produce and dishes that people already know well. Salads, wraps, fresh juices, baked goods and Fair Trade coffee are all part of the plan.
“We want to bring more people in than just those who have already decided to go green,” she says. “I just think there is a need here now for more healthy restaurant options.”
While this is the first restaurant venture for the partners, Berg’s family operates a pair of vegetarian restaurants, called Good Karma Medley, in Gulfport and Ocean Springs, Miss.
Baker says she and Berg have been raising money to build and finance the restaurant through events in the yoga community and they’re looking forward to the Bayou Boogaloo to spread the word about their plans. Look for samosas, a chickpea stew called chana masala and fresh young coconuts at the Good Karma Prasad Café booth.