From light to heavy, vegan to meaty, the upcoming new menu at Knead Community Cafe in New Kensington is full of options.
While the winter chill lingered this year, Knead’s fall and winter menu will exit with the launch of the spring and summer menu on May 10. It brings 14 new dishes for diners to choose from.
Chef Carlo Cimino said there’s no overriding theme to the menu.
“I went kind of all over the board with this one,” he said. “I always try to do things that people aren’t going to make for themselves.”
Those who enjoy the offerings on the fall and winter menu will want to get them before they’re gone. Only the mainstay burger, grilled cheese and wedding soup will be staying.
Cimino said he wanted to provide lighter offerings for warmer weather. They include the “Cup & a Half,” a small soup with a half tuna salad or chicken salad sandwich, and “Gimme the Scoops,” featuring scoops of chicken and tuna salad and cottage cheese.
Since he’s been at Knead, Cimino said he has noticed some customers eat heavier lunches and lighter dinners. The heavy mains on the fall and winter menu, such as liver and onions and hot turkey, were popular.
The heftier options on the spring and summer menu include braised beef ravioli and shrimp and grits.
Also falling in that category is a burger that has been a special before but is on the regular menu for the first time. Cimino said the “Arnold Lumberjack,” featuring grilled hot sausage and melted provolone, hails from an Arnold bar.
“The people from the area will remember it,” he said.
The menu features a vegan dish for the first time, as well as carb-free options.
“People are eating that way now, so we try to appeal to those requests,” said Paula Langer, the cafe’s general manager.
The vegan sandwich, “I Just Wanna Veg Out,” consists of a vegan whole-grain oat bun with hummus stuffed with tomato, cucumbers, onions, shaved broccoli stalk, shaved brussels, kale, radicchio and colored carrots tossed in lime vinaigrette.
For those avoiding carbs, there’s the “Fuji Salmon Bowl,” made with grilled sweet and spicy plum-glazed salmon on top of cauliflower fried rice topped with shaved vegetables.
There will be three new salads — a “Farmers Market” with baby spinach, baby corn, grape tomatoes, onions, cucumber, radish, bell peppers and zucchini tossed in lime vinaigrette; the “Blueberry Power Salad” with iceberg, baby spinach, “superfood veggie slaw,” blueberries, red grapes, dried cranberries, walnuts, hard-boiled egg and side of blueberry lemon vinaigrette; and a “Steakhouse Wedge,” with iceberg garnished with grape tomatoes, onions, hard-boiled egg and crumbled bacon with creamy blue cheese dressing.
Nothing on the menu is priced at more than $14, unless a customer adds chicken, shrimp or salmon to a salad, Cimino said.
The spring and summer menu will be in place until sometime in October.
“We’re always amazed,” said Mary Bode, who founded the cafe with her husband, Kevin, in 2017. “Carlo does some great things.”
Garden market planned
The new menu comes out the same week as the “Mother Nature’s Garden Market,” which will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 14. Langer said it’s a new name for a previously held event, “An Herbal Affair,” to better reflect its offerings.
The outdoor market in the cafe courtyard will feature vendors with handcrafted goods that are nature-based, such as soaps, lotions, teas, condiments, herbal products, farm fresh items, honey, flowers and starter plants and herbs.
A beekeeper will attend and be providing information on attracting and keeping bees, Langer said.
Knead is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It is also open for breakfast from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
The breakfast menu also is seasonal. Cimino said that menu, coming out May 28, is still “in the works.”
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .