Leaving the outdoors on a sunny Colorado day can be tough, but when you walk inside the earthy decorated restaurant Tasty Harmony you feel nothing but good vibes. Any regret to go indoors disappears.
When looking around the restaurant you may notice owner Sacha Steinhauser doing paperwork at a table, while his wife and co-owner, Jill Steinhauser, stands behind the counter. Customers have an instant feeling of being at home when welcomed by the Steinhausers.
The walls are decorated with vertical gardens and vintage pull-down plant charts. All the tables are wooden with either wooden chairs or stools, with the exception of the booths, which have bright teal upholstery. Friends of the Steinhausers create a lot of the decorations such as the wall art and tables while the Steinhausers themselves are responsible for the paint.
With the new location on Oak Street still coming into place, Sacha is in the restaurant every day or “too often,” as he jokes. The Steinhausers still make sure to have “Family Day” on Sundays with their five children, despite their restaurant being open.
“There needs to be at least one day a week for rest and healing,” Jill remarked.
Tasty Harmony wasn’t created just to eat but as a place where people can find their path of healing. The idea of the company came to Sacha while he was living in Santa Barbara. After years of working at vegetarian restaurants and running his own raw vegan catering company in college, he was confident in his decision to start his own vegetarian restaurant.
Sacha was a vegan for 12 years and a raw vegan for four years, but around the age of 30, Sacha went back to eating meat. “Our philosophy is listening to your body,” Sacha said. “Not being fundamental in your belief, and being able to adapt and change as you grow. So, right now it is not what is best for my body.”
The Steinhausers were living in North Dakota when they decided to open up a restaurant. They drove around California because originally the restaurant was to be opened up there, but Jill’s brother recommended that they check out Fort Collins.
“As soon as I drove in here I just knew it was the right spot,” Sacha said. “It just clicked, everything fell into place. It was almost effortless.”
They knew that owning a restaurant in this town wasn’t going to get them rich, but all they wanted was enough to support their family. Sacha created the menu for Tasty Harmony from mental notes of recipes he thought were awesome.
“My goal was never — you know some chefs want to create a name for themselves — I don’t care about that,” Sacha explained.
With four-and-a-half stars on Yelp and TripAdvisor, it looks as if Sacha accomplished his goal and created a great menu. Comments like, “The menu is absolutely incredible” and “Quite a selection” show that the time and effort he put into the menu paid off. Diners' favorites vary from the Nachos de Ynez, corn chips topped with cashew cheese, black beans, guacamole, vegan sour cream, and salsa (add the Mexican Style Jackfruit), Heart of Provence, cornmeal and almond crusted tempeh, garlic seared polenta cakes, herbed tofu ricotta, and Provence-inspired tomato sauce, and the Ricky Bobby Wrap, hot wing-style tempeh, cashew cheese, cole slaw, tomatoes, onions, and pickles wrapped in a wheat tortilla.
“We wouldn’t do just Mexican,” Sacha said.
Jill said, “Supporting the community is important to us. As much as we can get local, we do.”
The restaurant buys produce from Native Hill Farm and fresh bread from Aspen Bakery, as well as using produce from Jill’s half-acre greenhouse. Along with supporting the community financially, now they welcome people who want to get to know new people at their community table. They plan on doing more special and high-end meals like wine and beer dinners for their customers.
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Although it is a restaurant, Jill explains the deeper meaning of Tasty Harmony and how “It’s not just food; it’s the whole wellness aspect.”
She was a massage therapist for 12 years, and a lot of the Tasty Harmony employees are going to school for therapy or to be yoga teachers. It all goes together.
“Tasty Harmony is a place where you can have those connections and the servers have made those connections with each other and the customers,“ Jill said. It's not just about food; it’s about education.