When Megan Woodard moved to South Florida from Los Angeles, one of the first things she noticed was the lack of healthy food options in the area. “I realized that a lot of people wanted to have a healthy diet, but they didn’t have access to anything beyond fast food,” she says. “I’ve been vegan for 10 years and a vegetarian for many years before that. I wanted people to know that food can taste amazing even if you’re not eating an animal.”
That realization led to the opening of Perk Coffee House in 2017, where she would serve meatless dishes as a testing ground for her theory. Last August, Woodard took the plunge and established Mood, the first full-blown vegan restaurant in the Jupiter/Tequesta area. “The goal was not necessarily to have a vegan restaurant but rather to create a memorable restaurant experience that just happened to be vegan—a place where you want to come and stay because the food and atmosphere are vibrant and fresh,” she says.
The extensive menu at Mood begins with playful appetizers such as What’s Fish Got to Do with It? (a ceviche of bell peppers, strawberries, mangoes, cucumber, and avocado in a sesame vinaigrette) and Peace, Love + Sweet Potatoes (roasted sweet potato bisque with coconut cream, nutmeg, and fried shallots dusted with Korean chili). Entrées range from tacos stuffed with jackfruit or cauliflower to Not So Crabby Cakes (a lion’s mane mushroom “crab cake” with red and green bell peppers, smoked poblano, and remoulade). Everything is made from scratch, and no processed meat substitutes are used.
Mood has an innovative bar program, both in zero-proof and spirit-based cocktails. “Our concept is apothecary and medicinal,” says Woodard. “When you sit at our bar after a long day, you’ll be having a drink but also consuming something that will help your body heal.” The cocktails are infused with restorative ingredients such as aloe, lemongrass, and Thai basil. All wines and spirits are vegan, and many are non-commercial brands not found elsewhere.
Mood added lunch service and Sunday brunch in November and also offers a happy hour Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. Despite operating a small, family-owned restaurant (65 seats total), Woodard supports local charities and events such as last month’s Race for the Pies. She is a dedicated advocate for animal rights and participated in an impromptu rescue of an injured green sea turtle in 2019, with help from Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Her goal for the future, she says, is to open more restaurants and establish an animal sanctuary supported by proceeds from her businesses.