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Natural Awakenings San Diego

The Best Becomes Better

Nov 30, 2011 09:13AM ● By Linda Sechrist

When something is already the best it can be, the only way to improve it is by duplication. So, that’s just what Carl and Johanna Wright did with their successful Lotus Café and Juice Bar in Encinitas. Now, the same menu of nutritious cuisine is prepared with an equal amount of love and mindfulness in Hillcrest’s Village.

The “praylude” to their second location closely resembles the prayerful and meditative approach they followed to open their first Lotus Cafe. In 2006, the Wrights agreed that they wanted to follow their heart’s desire and live as simple yogis, deepening their practice of Kriya Yoga, which follows the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. After relocating from Ashland, Oregon to Encinitas to be near the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, they began to sense that the Divine had a different plan for them.

In 2009, they began to serve their community by opening a natural foods café within walking distance of the temple. “The call to open the second location was also a result of allowing us to be directed by prayer and meditation,” say the Wrights, whose new 3,600 square foot Hillcrest Village location—coincidentally—is only one mile from the San Diego Self-Realization Fellowship Temple.

The Lotus flower, a spiritual symbol for the Wrights, is a metaphor for an individual’s soul and spiritual potential. It inspires something much deeper and reaffirms the awareness that we are more than our physical bodies, and that we can spiritually transcend this world of illusion. To inspire the mind and palette, Johanna’s description of the Lotus is printed on the menu of soups and salads, sandwiches, pasta, vegetarian entrees, fish and chicken, and kids meals, as well as smoothies and shakes of the Lotus Café and Juice Bar. “Rooted in the mud but blossoming above the water, and, completely uncontaminated by the mud, the Lotus represents purity and spiritual perfection that rises above worldly illusion, an example of glorious existence.”

A combination of the restaurant’s East Indian Temple theme and its delicious, yet reasonably priced organic food, is complemented by the décor of original artwork. Given to the Wrights bySecond Lotus Cafe location opens dear friends, Carole and Chris Mayne, the artwork consists of candid telephoto pictures of natives along the Ganges River taken by the friends on a visit to India.  “They gave us hundreds of photos to choose from and we picked the ones we felt were most contemplative and uplifting,” enthuses Johanna, who was responsible for the colorful décor.

The Wrights believe that serving nutritious foods of higher vibrational frequencies can assist in the quest for higher spirituality, which is another way that they are of service to their community. “The café is close to the Scripps Mercy Hospital complex and we are hopeful that people, who are visiting their loved ones there, will come to enjoy our soothing and relaxing space with outdoor seating surrounding the restaurant,” says the couple.

The Wrights, who see spiritual wellness as an important aspect of good health and overall well being as well as happiness, believe that food health is not only about what you eat; it’s also about giving yourself permission to pursue balance in all aspects—physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. “This experience is what we strive for and what we try to help our patrons achieve every day,” advises the couple, who openly speak of the joy in knowing they are working in the spirit of service to their community while at the same time acting in alignment with Divine will.

Lotus Café & Juice Bar, 765 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas 92024. Call 760-479-1977. 3955 Fifth Ave., San Diego 92103.  Call 619-795-2446. Visit