A Gourmet “Cannabis Oasis”: America’s First “Dine and Dab” Cafe Opens in Los Angeles
By Elias Marat
In a clear sign of the post-prohibition times we live in, the first-ever cannabis café in the United States opened Tuesday to the eager cannabis connoisseurs of Los Angeles, California.
Located in West Hollywood, Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, is the first farm-to-table restaurant and lounge exclusively devoted to highlighting cannabis cuisine. Long the talk of bud consumers across Southern California, Lowell Farms’ owners and head chefs hope to forever change how we think of marijuana consumption.
On its website, Lowell Cafe announces:
PROHIBITION IS OVER!
For over a century we’ve been forced to hide cannabis consumption out of public view, but that time is now over. We’re proud to announce Lowell Cafe – America’s first cannabis cafe serving farm fresh food, coffee, juice, and cannabis daily. Sit on our patio, order a meal, have a conversation and experience cannabis together.
General Manager Lily Estanislao told KABC-7 news:
We wanted to break the stigma against cannabis so we wanted to create an environment where people could comfortably consume and also enjoy a really fantastic meal.
The restaurant resembles less a “college, Dave Matthews Band kind of vibe” and instead is an “elegant place,” restaurant director Kevin Brady told the Guardian. The director has been hard at work creating a verdant, “light, bright airy oasis of a space that people can consume cannabis” free of the stereotypical stoner accouterments one might expect—such as black lights, lava lamps, beanbag chairs, and Led Zeppelin posters.
The café told CNN that “in harmony with the West Hollywood community, the restaurant will offer a first-of-its-kind nightlife experience,” complete with what they are calling “tableside flower service.”
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Next month, #LowellCafe will be the first venue in the America where customers can legally enjoy cannabis with their meal in public. The cannabis menu will change daily based on the harvests available from the #LowellFarms network of farms. Tag a #Cannasseur who would find this aspect of @lowellfarmscafe intriguing.
Those entering the historic café will be immediately greeted by a Flower Host—similar to a sommelier—who will help patrons choose cannabis strains with the effect and flavor they most desire. The Flower Host can help roll joints and blunts as needed while also providing dab rigs and specialty bongs to guests.
The Flower Hosts are well aware that for first-time consumers, the array of choices can be daunting. One Flower Hosts, Bianca, explained:
We always want to feel very approachable. I don’t want my knowledge by any means to make someone feel uncomfortable or uneducated.
I want to be able to have a conversation with them and hopefully they leave here feeling a little more secure about their personal relationship with cannabis.
Diners can expect classic California cuisine that reflects the state’s diversity, as well as seasonal dishes that pair well with the effects of THC and CBD. Head chef Andrea Drummer, who was trained at LA’s Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, is famous for her cannabis-infused cuisine, which she has prepared for such high profile celebrities as Wiz Khalifa, Miguel, and Chelsea Handler. She was also featured in the Netflix original series Cooking On High.
Drummer, who hails from the South, told the Guardian that the offerings will include healthy dishes like kale salad alongside comfort foods “that one would love to indulge in, if they are elevated.” This will include mac and cheese bites, grilled cheese sandwiches, fried chicken, and a “sweet FL(HIGH)T” desert platter that will showcase s’mores, bacon, an ice cream sandwich, and caramel popcorn.
Food and cannabis are both very communal experiences, so to bring them together … is still very fascinating for me.
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Due to current cannabis laws in the state, however, the restaurant won’t be able to prepare in-house dishes infused with cannabis—although there will be abundant offerings of pre-packaged edibles such as gummies and chocolates that will be available to eat on site or to-go.
About 8 percent of employees of cannabis brand Lowell Herb Co., the company that owns the restaurant, have previous cannabis infractions on their record. This has helped guide co-founder Sean Black in hiring for the café. Black said:
There is nothing that will make up for the wrongs that were done.
There are people in other states who are in jail while we are serving fancy meals. It’s inherently unfair.
He hopes that the restaurant is successful in shifting popular perceptions of cannabis consumption, explaining:
We want it to have the same respect as fine wine.
Cannabis can be a fun recreational part of society, like alcohol, without being dangerous.
Tourists from across the country—and especially from states where recreational cannabis use remains illegal—will likely flock to the restaurant in hopes of enjoying the super-premium experience.
Lowell Café, which boasts a 5,900-square foot garden-like space and both a smoking and non-smoking patio, is only the first of eight cannabis cafes scheduled to open in West Hollywood. Many are hoping that the venture succeeds and can blaze a potentially worldwide trail for canna-businesses across the United States, if not the globe.
Local cannabis advocate and consultant Jackie Subeck, who will soon open her own cannabis spa and café in the city, said:
This is a really, really big moment.
This doesn’t exist anywhere … We’re building the plane while flying it.