I thought it was a nifty idea when 4Roots, an initiative from 4 Rivers Restaurants dedicated to teaching the connection to food choices and individual health, opened 4Roots Cafe at Orlando Science Center. Besides offering healthful food choices, including plant based and sustainable options, it was to include food exhibits and educational videos and even a display with a robotic arm that picks strawberries.
I was only mildly annoyed that access to the cafe was available only through the Science Center, which required the purchase of a ticket. Not that that’s unheard of – you can’t eat at a restaurant in Epcot unless you pay for admission. And OSC costs a whoooooole lot less than Epcot. And parking is cheaper, too.
But now the cafe is accessible to the public without an entrance fee (though it would still be a good thing to support the center if you can).
It’s a fast food concept with sandwiches, salads, wraps and bowls, including an assemblage option. I went with the Asian selection from the list of four signature bowls. It had a base of cool cilantro pesto noodles topped with roasted broccoli florets and tossed with a cilantro and ginger garlic sauce. It also had what the menu board said was “kale power mix,” which sounded scary to me, and Asian tofu, which apparently means it was marinated in soy sauce (very forward sodium note). I liked the crispiness of the broccoli and all the flavors of the noodles.
Not everything is plant based, so to get away from all of that healthful sounding stuff I also ordered a turkey and avocado wrap that unabashedly also contained bacon and mayonnaise. There was an ample amount of thinly sliced turkey breast meat with avocado and cucumber slices inside a whole wheat tortilla. The wrap may have been made in advance because one side of it had developed a bit of a sog, probably from the cucumbers, but it did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the sandwich.
There is ample seating inside the large wing of the center where the cafe is located, with tables and chairs amid the various displays. Or you can take your food and find a shady spot in Loch Haven Park. By the way, it’s from the entrance facing the park, on the east side of the building, that you can enter without going through the center. If you want to visit the many fine exhibits of the Science Center, enter through the second level from the parking garage.
4Roots Cafe is at 777 E. Princeton St., Orlando (map). It is open for lunch daily. There is no published phone number, but food can also be ordered through DoorDash and Uber Eats.