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Local eatery, hold the meat

New Java Jazz owners want to open a Loving Hut vegan restaurant

A week after it closed, an open door at Java Jazz Cafe still managed to draw in several would-be customers on a muggy May afternoon.

Though they were turned away disappointed, the new owners hope it won't be long before a door is officially opened again at the Delmar eatery. Carolyn and Tim Woodard are hoping to continue what made Java Jazz successful with a new twist you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere in the Capital District: a vegan menu.

This will be the first foray the Woodards have made into the restaurant world, but it's been a long time coming.

The reason for having the restaurant wasn't for money, Carolyn said. "This is my passion. I've had this goal for 10, 15 years."

The Woodards hope to make the restaurant a Loving Hut, which is a chain of vegan restaurants with locations nationwide (the nearest to Delmar is in Manhattan). They may open under a different name, however, and change over once the franchising process is cleared by the state.

Java Jazz closed its doors last week after four years in business. Owner Cathy Callan had conducted a search to find a business that would aim to keep the same sort of community-oriented spirit that Java Jazz had.

"It was very important to find someone with values similar to mine, and Carolyn has those values," Callan said.

She made the decision to close for personal reasons, including wanting to be able to spend more time with her daughter, who lives in California. Java Jazz donated its leftover food to the Samaritan Shelters in Glenmont.

Carolyn Woodard said she would like to continue many of the Java Jazz traditions, including hanging the work of local artists and having local musical acts visit. She also plans to use as many of the same local vendors as possible and even plans to offer a few of Java Jazz's vegetarian favorites, like gazpacho and the Nirvana wrap.

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