One of Austin’s most established eateries serving fresh, organic, vegan and gluten-free meals is not a restaurant, its owner said. 

The nonprofit dining and community center known as Casa de Luz—or House of Light—is a philosophy, a lifestyle and a sacred space, founder Eduardo “Wayo” Longoria said.

Now in its 25th year, Casa de Luz, which is open to the public, serves three simple meals each day featuring plant-based, whole-food options. During breakfast hours guests help themselves to a limited buffet of items such as vegetable soup and legumes with a vegetable medley and nut sauce. During lunch and dinner, Casa staff serves the meal of the day, which could include items such as kale with whole grains and fermented vegetables.

In addition to the dining hall Casa de Luz features a playground, offices for local health and wellness practitioners, and rental spaces. Next door, alternative private school Integrity Academy at Casa de Luz, Center for Integral Studies is in its second year.

“You have to stop seeing it as a restaurant to see what it is really about,” Longoria said.

Longoria said the theme of the Casa de Luz community is holistic health through connection and relationship—and food is just part of the story, although it plays an important role.

“We live in a fractured society; health lives in the connection,” Longoria said. “My objective is to look for connections. When people eat the same food sitting at the same table, there are all types of connections.”

He said he hopes to expand those connections even further through the development of a second community center in East Austin. Longoria said the connectivity of the Mueller neighborhood offers a prime opportunity for sharing the Casa vision. Rick Hardy, a regular at Casa de Luz, said he hopes the Greater Austin community comes to appreciate Casa de Luz the way he did.

“I’ve learned the joy of eating vegetables,” Hardy said. “[Guests] come here and find common value around the consumption of food. It puts you in a place where you may not have been otherwise.”

Meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner 

Casa de Luz Casa de Luz serves three organic, vegan, whole-food meals each day.[/caption]

Casa de Luz serves three organic, vegan meals each day for a set price of $9 (breakfast) or $12 (lunch and dinner). Self-serve breakfast items include organic corn tortillas and ingredients such as black beans, carrots and kale.

Casa de Luz campus

The Casa de Luz campus includes a dining hall, meeting and event spaces, offices for local health and wellness practitioners, and a private school called the Integrity Academy at Casa de Luz, Center for Integral Studies.

Food prep 

Casa de Luz A Casa de Luz staff member prepares a lunch meal on Feb. 26.[/caption]

A Casa de Luz staff member prepares a lunch Feb. 26. The nonprofit dining hall serves breakfast from 7-11 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and dinner from 5:30-8:30 p.m. every day of the year.