No longer relegated to the counterculture movement, cannabis has become a staple of everyday life for millions of Americans, with growing legalization spurring new avenues of research and product development.
While cultivators were quick to jump in and start churning out edibles, beverages, and more, it didn’t take a leap in logic for bars and restaurants to get in on the game.
Some have simply added a few cannabis-infused cocktails or dishes to the menu, but others have gone all out by launching hemp bars and cannabis cafés. Whether you’re in the prepackaged foods industry or restaurants are your bread and butter, it couldn’t hurt to consider how adding cannabis to your lineup could boost your brand.
Here are a few establishments doing it right.
Cannabis Cafe — West Hollywood, CA
It’s hard to believe that canna cuisine didn’t originate in Colorado or Oregon, but this WeHo café claims to be the first of its kind in the U.S. Of course, it only launched in 2019, so that claim is dubious at best (as this list will show).
Even if it wasn’t the first, it is still angling to be the best, with a classic comfort food menu consisting of pulled pork, chicken tenders, club sandwiches, and more. Dishes can be infused with THC for a flat fee of $20, and there’s also a cannabis menu featuring a variety of strains.
The industrial-style interior, replete with brick walls, plank flooring, pressed tin ceiling tiles, and heavy wood beams, is surprisingly cozy and chic, and patio dining is available. Cannabis Cafe is temporarily closed but plans to reopen later in 2022.
Zenbarn — Waterbury Center, VT
The farm-to-table movement attracts a particular crowd, and for those seeking low-key comfort food options, Zenbarn delivers with burgers, BBQ, ramen, and more, assembled with local farm fare.
Also a live music venue, this popular hideout in the heart of the Green Mountains also has craft beer and cocktails. It started offering cannabis-infused food and drinks in 2018 and has since developed a line of CBD products, now sold at its on-site boutique and online.
Harlow — Portland, OR
There’s no place like Portland when it comes to alternative diet options, and Harlow hits all the high points, so to speak. This café and juice bar serves up smoothies and elixirs, along with scrambles, bowls, and vegetarian and vegan plates packed with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Its entire menu can be modified with CBD infusions as add-ons.
PopCultivate — Multiple Locations
Touted as a chef-driven culinary group, this catering company, founded by scientist-turned-chef Chris Yang, delivers cannabis-infused gourmet cuisine when you book an event.
With a stable of chefs and options to book in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Denver, the cuisine is haute, and the steaks are high. When you become a member, you’ll get invitations to enjoy member-exclusive dinners.
Nostalgia Bar and Lounge — Santa Monica, CA
“Herbal Chef” Chris Sayegh is the brains behind this brilliant bar and event space, where he’s pioneering alcoholic and non-boozy bevs boosted with aromatic and flavorful terpenes. You can stop by the dedicated bar and lounge or book an event to enjoy a private, cannabis-infused dinner.
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Wake-N-Bakery — Chicago, IL
If there were awards for clever and hilarious restaurant names, this establishment would be at the top of the list. Of course, it’s also renowned for its THC treats, which feature legal Delta-8 THC content derived from hemp cannabis containing 0.3% or less Delta-9 THC, per the parameters of the 2018 Farm Bill.
While this bakery doesn’t technically serve dinner, it does offer plenty of tasty edibles that wouldn’t make for a bad dessert. You can go for prepackaged gummies or chocolates, but its real claim to fame is full-spectrum, cannabis-infused custom cakes, cupcakes, and vegan mini Bundt cakes. Order ahead.
While cannabis eateries aren’t exactly on every corner, the made-to-order food and beverage scene is definitely on the rise, and there are plenty of models to choose from when it comes to including cannabis on the menu.
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