The Pharmacy Cafe: Healthy and delicious

The Pharmacy cafe in Santa Rosa offers up healthy, whole foods that taste great

Food is love. Food is happiness. And now, food is medicine?

Eating healthy, whole, unmodified and unprocessed food to heal our bodies isn’t exactly a new idea, but it’s one that’s coming back to the forefront as diabetes, heart disease and cancers related to sugary, fatty Western diets become epidemic.

Chef Jennifer McMurry at The Pharmacy in Santa Rosa (Erica Olsson Photography)
Chef Jennifer McMurry at The Pharmacy in Santa Rosa (Erica Olsson Photography)

And that’s the mission behind The Pharmacy cafe — thoughtfully-crafted foods that nourish and enrich, rather than deplete our bodies.

“I’m not a doctor,” says co-owner Kim Bourdet, “But people just don’t understand what’s in their food and drinks — where it’s coming from or what’s going into their body,” she adds.

Carrot cake at The Pharmacy in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)
Carrot cake at The Pharmacy in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)

That’s why she and Chef Jennifer McMurry (formerly of Viola Pastry Cafe) have created a breakfast and lunch menu of food with a conscience. Not-so-ironically at a former pharmacy at Brookwood and Sonoma Ave.

Croque Madame at The Pharmacy in Santa Rosa. (heather irwin)
Croque Madame at The Pharmacy in Santa Rosa. (heather irwin)

Brilliant yellow egg salad sandwiches are made with rEvolution fermented sourdough bread (a BiteClub fave), eggs from White Whale Farm (the owners of Pug’s Leap cheese) and Jennifer’s own lemon aioli. There’s water kefir from The Kefiry on tap, Bella Rosa coffee and espressos, lassis made with turmeric, ginger and homemade organic almond milk (now an obsession of mine), a luxurious chop salad with house-roasted chicken, or tiny jars of lemon curd with meringue. In the morning, carrot loaf with homemade cream cheese is a favorite, and the carrot cake with cream cheese? Decadent without the sugar high.

Kim Bourdet and Jennifer McMurry at The Pharmacy in Santa Rosa (Erica Olsson Photography)
Kim Bourdet and Jennifer McMurry at The Pharmacy in Santa Rosa (Erica Olsson Photography)

Kim and Jennifer look for producers with passion, ingredients without GMOs, gluten-free alternatives and portions that satisfy rather than stuff.

It’s not diet food, mind you, but food that you can feel good about eating.

The sunny interior of The Pharmacy cafe in Santa Rosa. (Erica Olsson Photography)
The sunny interior of The Pharmacy cafe in Santa Rosa. (Erica Olsson Photography)

Right now, everything is grab-and-go, making it a perfect quick pitstop that won’t leave you with an afternoon of regret. The duo plan for special dinners, nutrition and cooking classes and much more. Next week, I’ll be doing a deeper dive into The Pharmacy and other “healing foods” restaurants popping up in Sonoma County, so stay tuned.

Focaccia with pea shoots, asparagus and cream cheese at The Pharmacy. (Heather Irwin)
Focaccia with pea shoots, asparagus and cream cheese at The Pharmacy. (Heather Irwin)

The Pharmacy, 990 Sonoma Ave. #1, Santa Rosa, open 7a.m. to 3p.m. weekdays, closed Saturday and Sunday.

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23 thoughts on “The Pharmacy Cafe: Healthy and delicious

  1. You know I just had a terrible experience with this place. I’m so upset. I loved the atmosphere, and I know they have delicious food, but the service I just experienced made me not ever want to come back. I came up to the counter, wanting to simply trade or get a refund for a sandwich I had purchased. I did not want to complain, and I was polite about it, because I do realize that what I had ordered was described to me on the menu. However, I was simply expecting something different. Sorry! I had expected to have more flavor, less avocado and it loaded with sprouts, but this was not the case! And if someone is unhappy, I feel, as a paying customer, that I should feel satisfied with what I had bought. So I explained to the lady that I wanted to trade for another sandwich, add something to the sandwich, get a drink instead, just SOMETHING but everything seemed to be an issue. I am so unhappy that they would not work with me. And I’m honestly extremely disappointed because my initial opinion of this place was good but it’s been tainted with disrespect and dissatisfaction. Really Unfortunate…

  2. I’ll support their business when they pay the contractors who did the work but never got paid!

  3. First time today, what a treat. After reading some of the earlier comments, not all, the problems is with some of the youngsters that could not comprehend “stand up bar”, like in France, Italy, Japan. Frankly juice bars with some exception are pedestrian.
    I like the fact that the concept of the cafe is, obviously how they want to do it. I have a friend who has had three very successful bakeries, one in Paris, two in Northern Cal. What she decided early on is that she would do it her way, the end. She also did it in a gracious warm and welcoming way like I experienced this morning. I am spreading the “good word”
    She was a pastry chef at Chez Panisse many years ago and I was many of the preparation of the simple egg sandwich and great cup of coffee much like Jim Mazer’s Fanny’s Cafe in Berkeley.

    1. There is a reason they can’t have tables and chairs in the space, yet. It has to do with permitting, ADA compliance, etc. which costs a fortune. The owners hope to be able to make improvements to allow for more seating, but sometimes you have to be a little flexible. I’m happy that they went ahead their concept, rather than giving up and not going forward, Thanks for you insight, April!

  4. What a strange business model with these hours and no seating.
    Good luck..this county demands a bit more, like availability and a chair/table.

  5. I really wanted to like this place since it’s so close to my work but I feel like there are a few things missing, such as seating. There is no where to sit just a stand up counter.
    I felt the prices were pretty steep for the portion size, especially the sandwiches. Revolutionary Bread was a great choice for the bread though. Can’t go wrong there and the service was really friendly.

    1. The stand-up counter is not what I had in mind when I stopped by, intending to have a leisurely breakfast. Still, the women were friendly, gracious, and enthusiastic … despite my gripe about that stand-up thing. I understand why they can’t offer table service. And, I confess, I’d overlooked the final paragraph in the above description. I was disappointed. No breakfast, just a coffee-to-go, for me. Maybe there will be tables in Pharmacy Cafe’s future….

  6. I look forward to trying this place. However, not being open on Sat/Sun I don’t know when I’ll be able to. Not sure how they expect to succeed being closed on the weekend.

    1. Agree i will never be able to go to this place as i am at work during their open hours..and no weekends…well they wont be here long probably…

  7. Sounds like they are on the right track. Gluten is right up there though, with things destroying our health, as are all grains. I saw fat being vilified, and while I agree some fats are awful, such as canola oil, other fats are excellent! Avocado oil, coconut oil, ethically sourced palm oil, all are really good for you, and keep you feeling satiated for long periods. I also note there is no mention of where the eggs and meat are sourced. Is it CAFO meat (blergh) or locally, humanely, and ethically raised?

    1. The menu says they have housemade Gluten Free Bread for the toast-I was wondering if
      you could have it for the sandwiches as well. The menu also says they use White Whale Farm eggs
      and BN Ranch Roast Beef-I’ll have to look them up-

  8. I’m going to try Pharmacy Café, soon, like this week. It’s great to have a lunch doesn’t make you want to skip a 5:30 workout.

    Seed to Leaf in Courthouse Square also serves healthy, good-tasting food.

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