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Big Mood prepares to open with outside-the-box treats on Elmwood

Big Mood prepares to open with outside-the-box treats on Elmwood

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It took a week longer than expected, but Big Mood – the re-imagined, quicker-service version of Root & Bloom – will open July 24. 

Originally planning to open July 15, co-owner James Ernst spent an extra week refinishing the floor, fine-tuning the decor and organizing a larger staff before reopening the city's only plant-based comfort food restaurant for service, at 423 Elmwood Ave.

"We're keeping the high-quality food but producing it faster and in larger quantities," Ernst said, referring to when Root & Bloom would frequently run out of popular dishes due to equipment and staffing limitations. "Big Mood will be more comfort food-based than we've ever been, something to indulge yourself in."

The concept change includes a more robust list of "chicken" sandwiches with each entree named for an accompanying "mood" (see the full menu). Big Mood also will introduce a soft-serve vegan ice cream using Rich Products' oat-milk based soft serve. "Galaxy glitter" sprinkles add pizzazz, a common theme at the made-for-Instagram restaurant. For sodas, Ernst has incorporated Olipop, a California-based prebiotic tonic with less than 5 grams of sugar, available in five flavors. The root beer flavor will be combined with the Rich's oat-milk soft serve for a root beer float.

Associated with the switch of soft-serve base is a greater accommodation of those with nut allergies, with 16 nut-free dishes on Big Mood's allergen menu and an overall shift away from almond milk to soy and oat milks. "Previously, people with nut allergies couldn't even step inside the door," said Ernst, who owns the restaurant with Sarah Sendlbeck. 

Two plant-based pies also are offered: 1970's Mud Pie, with decadent chocolate "cream" and graham crackers, and Sunshine Dream, a tropical fruit pie. Big Mood's private baker will craft Insta-Cake Push Pops – ornate, bite-size relatives of cake pops.

Hours will be noon to 10 p.m. daily – significantly longer than when it was Root & Bloom – and late-night service and quick-service breakfast are anticipated later this year. Big Mood will serve alcohol, too, with a local brewery serving as the base for a summer shandy; a 1911 rose cider also weaves in a New York business.

Ernst said Big Mood will eliminate phone orders. An online ordering system, which will be operational next week, will have an option for curbside pickup and to alert the restaurant of the customer's arrival. An indoor ordering kiosk, immediately inside the entrance, will cater to those who would rather not interact face-to-face with an employee.

INFO: Big Mood, 423 Elmwood Ave. Opening July 24. Hours: Noon to 10 p.m. daily.

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