Vegetarian Café and yoga studio open at Monkton Trail


Photo provided by Henry Traynor

The gluten-free, vegan donuts sold at Veggie Esperanto are a healthier option than conventional baked goods.

Maggie Parks, Reporter

Husband and wife Nikolai Pandoursky and Monica Ott opened yoga studio, BambooMoves, and vegetarian café, Veggie Esperanto, at the Monkton Trail on Oct. 1 as an extension of their Baltimore studio, which opened in September of 2013.

“It’s about taking your yoga practice beyond the mat,” Nikolai Pandoursky said, about newly opened Veggie Esperanto.

Offering everything from burrito bowls to gluten-free donuts to spinach pot pies to pizza, the vegetarian café is currently open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday through Sunday. The café is not open on Monday, but the yoga studio holds classes seven days a week.

On weekends, Veggie Esperanto also provides breakfast options such as chia pudding, yogurt, granola, and fruit.

“We always wanted to have some sort of nutritional component with [the studio] so we were offering cooking classes [at the Baltimore location] but…we just couldn’t find a spot in the city where we could grow so [the Monkton trail] gives us the opportunity to do both,” said Pandoursky.

Pandoursky is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. After working in kitchens throughout New York City, he perfected his culinary skills and now, is the primary chef at Veggie Esperanto.

“Our dishes are sort of stripped down versions of the dishes I used to make in New York,” Pandoursky said.

With a relatively inexpensive menu, the couple makes their business accessible to everyone. Gluten-free donuts are a mere $3.00 each and spinach pies are only $5.95.

“We substitute anything with meat or just leave it out,” Krishna Hirpara (’20) said. Hirpara’s culture encourages vegetarianism, so her and her family modify their diet to eliminate meat. “I’m really excited [about the café]…it might drive more people to become vegetarian.”

Hereford athletes may also benefit from the vegetarian café.

“Once I changed my diet to a more plant-based diet, my recovery time was basically cut in half,” Pandoursky said.

Ott and Pandoursky follow the yoga principle Ahimsa, a lifestyle that does not exploit animals or human beings. This is why all food products at Veggie Esperanto are 95% organic, with many products being locally sourced.

In addition to altering your diet, participating in practices such as yoga may benefit Hereford students.

Andrew Abbott (’18) was inspired by his sister to practice yoga. For him, yoga is more than just a physical practice. “It connects the body, the mind, and the soul,” Abbott said.

Sydney Pursley (’19), a fellow yoga-enthusiast, said “[Yoga] gives you a more positive outlook and helps you relax more…High school is very stressful and people have hard times coping with it, so [yoga] is an easy way to relieve everything.”

Veggie Esperanto and BambooMoves may be new to the Monkton Trail, but Pandoursky already has plans for their spring menu.

“I would like to add a juice and smoothie station…and do our own acai bowls,” Pandoursky said.

The couple aspires to support the community by buying from local farms and providing food for people on the trail.

“I always envision this as being for the local community,” said Pandoursky.