Cordova Road wellness boutique BODY of Santa Fe owner Lori Parrish tells SFR her relationship with former Fire & Hops chef and current La Lecheria ice cream shop owner Joel Coleman goes back for decades.
“I first met him when he was at [now-closed] Mudu Noodles in, oh, I don’t know, I think 2000,” Parrish explains, “and we worked together at BODY Café after that, and, geez, we had so much fun because he’d never done vegan, but he’s such a fantastic chef that he can do anything.”
And though Coelman moved on to other projects, like opening Fire & Hops in 2014, and Parrish sold the space that once housed BODY Café to French joint Clafoutis in 2017, she says working again with Coleman was always in the back of her mind.
Thus, the pair has teamed up once more for the soon-to-open Nourish vegan café. Parrish says she’s hesitant to call Nourish’s menu Asian fusion, though elements like certain noodle dishes will certainly be Asian in provenance; Coleman is also kind of known for having a knack in that department. Nourish will also serve soups and green chile stew, plus open-faced sandwiches with breads from New Mexico bakeries such as Wild Leaven and Los Poblanos and, over time, Parrish says, other surprises developed by Coleman—all of it 100% vegan.
“It’ll be a small menu, and everything is going to be local,” she says. “Cold noodle bowls that you can eat heated if you sit down at Nourish, or that you can take with you from our deli case; a squash soup with three squashes and a pistachio drizzle; a full coffee and tea bar with local vendors—simple, but different. When I make vegan food for people, they always tell me they could do it if the food was that good, and this will be that good.”
Coleman, meanwhile, sold his stake last year in gastropub Fire & Hops—which permanently closed in September— to focus on his Railyard-based ice cream business La Lecheria. That business will remain open, he says.
“The main thing that hit me, and I knew it would come, is that I missed cooking,” Coleman tells SFR with a laugh. “It’s not like I gave up being a chef, I just needed the break.”
Coleman says he’s excited to experiment with vegan dishes. It isn’t that he has a particularly reputation for vegan food, he adds, but many of the soups he’s developed over the years have been vegan and he mainly aims to work with the best ingredients he can find.
His largest obstacle? “The fish sauce,” Coleman says. “It’s not that hard, because you’re dealing with soy and garlic and ginger and chile and lime juice, and these things can make a dish taste amazing, but it’s kind of my next big challenge for myself to develop some kind of vegan sauce that tastes like fish sauce.”
Nourish represents a turning point for BODY after Parrish parted ways earlier this year with Moroccan vegan and vegetarian eatery Tajine, which grew a cult following inside the Cordova Road business. In August, Tajine was shuttered by the city for lacking its business license. After that, Parrish says, she renovated the space. That project wrapped last month.
She and Coleman’s new menu punctuates that change while making way for another of Parrish’s projects: working with Santa Fe Farmers’ Market vendors for small market pop-ups. Parrish doesn’t have the full list of participating vendors just yet, but tells SFR their presence will be small and impactful. Coleman’s involvement will remain open-ended, he says, though he’s ready to get in there and cook. For her part, Parrish notes, she’s excited to highlight as many local items as possible.
“We have so much to be proud of in our community in terms of quality,” she says.
Nourish is scheduled to open in earnest on Feb. 1, at which point Coleman and Parrish will announce its ongoing hours, but pop-ups and soft opening information will be available at bodyofsantafe.com when applicable.