A brand new vegan café has opened in Barnstaple offering healthy treats and lunches in the town centre.
A 19-year-old who has overcome three mental illnesses has found her ‘fresh start’ by opening a brand new vegan café.
Purity Petal Café opened in Church Lane and owner Maria Rose said it is the only vegan eatery in North Devon.
Maria, who moved to the area in July, said the venture was a new start after overcoming agoraphobia, depression and anorexia, and escaping her abusive father.
The qualified chef became a vegan three-years-ago and said when she found the vacant unit in the town, she knew it was the one.
“My friends all started to go to university and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” Maria told the Gazette.
“I was running a cake business but I’ve always been entrepreneurial and I wanted to do something of my own.”
Maria set about finding a suitable place for her venture, and moved to North Devon in July to set up Purity Petal Café.
“Moving to a new area away from all my friends was quite isolating and this has helped me to meet people and build my confidence,” she said.
“I’ve invested all of my savings into this business and I feel like I have finally found a happy place.
“I’m not doing this to make money; I feel like I am living the dream, especially when people come through the door and they are excited to have found us.
“I think you never know how much people have been through and to now have something which is mine, which no-one can take away, is so magical for me.”
Maria said her menu is as inclusive as possible - everything is vegan, and therefore egg- and dairy-free by default.
She also offers a full gluten-free menu, and is even branching out into sugar-free treats too.
“We also have nine different vegan milks on offer, which is more than anywhere in Devon, and I would say more than most places in the UK,” added Maria.
“We have a mixture of healthy and ‘dirty’ food so there really is something for everyone.”
Maria has already held a vegan meet-up, and hopes to host future events including mental health talks and advice on veganism.
She added: “We welcome everyone, even if it’s someone who just wants to come in for a cup of tea and some company.”
Find Purity Petal Café in Church Lane, Barnstaple, or visit their Facebook page for more information on future events.