Ecopolitan, the Twin Cities' only raw-foods restaurant, has abruptly closed, after a 15-year run.

The casual restaurant (pictured, above, in a Star Tribune file photo) specialized in organic, vegan, raw, gluten-free fare, and boasted an exceptional juice and smoothie bar.

The environmentally-conscious operation, located at 24th and Lyndale in south Minneapolis, was one of the nation's first raw-foods restaurants, a pioneer in the gustatory movement that lies well to the left of vegetarianism and a few steps beyond the vegans. It's a serious crusade, one based upon the sound principle that unadulterated foods best preserve the nutrients - as well as the flavors - that can get compromised or just plain lost in the conventional cooking process.

"Ecopolitan restaurant in MInneapolis has closed its doors after 15 years of serving the community," says the message on the restaurant's voicemail. "The non-profit corporation that owned it is being dissolved."

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