At Botanika Cafe, Ridgefield’s new plant-based eatery, ‘health of people and the planet’ comes first

RIDGEFIELD — After working in one of Phoenix’s top cafes, resident Elena Snezhkina has opened her own right on Main Street.

Botanika Cafe is a new fast-casual eatery offering plant-based, organic and gluten-free items to promote the health of people as well as the planet — something Snezhkina is very passionate about.

“I love two things,” she said, “helping people live better lives and delicious food.”

Following a one-year internship at the Giving Tree Cafe in Phoenix, which also serves sustainable eats, Snezhkina was looking for a location of her own. The storefront at 424 Main St. — formerly Organika — was “the perfect match,” her daughter, Kristina Arias, said.

“My mom loves to cook and feed people, which is what separates her apart from other places,” said Arias, who helps with the business. “She puts her heart and soul into her cooking (but) the health of people and the planet is the No. 1 priority.”

Almost 100 percent of Botanika’s menu items are homemade using wholesome, non-processed ingredients, according to Arias.

“We’re grateful … that we have this location right on Main Street to provide healthy food for the community and work really hard to have something for everyone,” she added.

Snezhkina is best known for her “amazing” array of gluten-free pastries, including matcha muffins, carrot muffins, a Starbucks-like lemon loaf and vegan “raw” cakes, Arias said. Her play on cream cheese and lox substitutes ribbons of carrots for the smoked salmon, piled on a scratch-made, gluten-free bagel.

Additionally, if patrons come in and say the phrase “save the planet one meal at a time,” Snezhkina will give them one of her “incredible” brownies on the house.

For lunch, patrons can try a “chicken” Caesar wrap starring marinated oyster mushrooms in place of the poultry. Other items include a buffalo cauliflower wrap, a chickpea tuna wrap, buddha bowls, curry bowls and a sea goddess salad with spirulina-infused dressing.

An early best-seller is the sauteed vegetable dosa (think quesadilla). The ayurvedic crepe is made out of fermented rice and lentils and is said to improve digestion.

Using molecular gastronomy, Snezhkina is able to enhance the flavors of her food while promoting digestibility to yield the most nutritional content, Arias said.

“You will love how delicious the food is and you will feel better by eating healthy,” Snezhkina added.

But sustainability doesn’t stop at the menu: Botanika uses paper packaging and composts all its food scraps. The eye-catching murals inside were created with organic, vegetable-based paint, and the sign outside was made out of reclaimed wood from the 1800s.

Though still in the midst of renovations, Arias hopes Botanika can become a healing place for patrons to rest, relax and eat peacefully.

“We love Ridgefield and all the nature around, so we’ve tried to bring the beauty of the outside inside,” she said. “We want to create an atmosphere that’s enchanted (where people can) come in and try something new.”

Botanika Cafe is at 424 Main St. in Ridgefield. To place an order for pickup, call 203-403-3346.