At Heal Mpls restaurant, the kitchen staff welcomes each new crate of organic local produce, eager to see what north Minneapolis will be eating today.

Squash, beets, arugula, radishes, onions. A menu brimming with fruits and vegetables, much of it grown on their family farms or in their gardens, to keep costs low and keep each day's plant-based menu an adventure.

"We switch up the menu every day — whatever God provides for us to cook," said Sierra Carter, who launched the restaurant in September with other North Side health and wellness entrepreneurs. "It's kind of like playing ['Chopped'] every day: 'Oh, we've got a lot of mixed veg? Going to do a stir fry.'"

Heal is an acronym: Herbs. Eats. All Love. A business built to build up a community.

"This is healthy food for us, by us," Carter said.

For almost five years, she has offered wellness classes and services to north Minneapolis through her business, the Zen Bin. The donation-based practice offers yoga, cardio workouts, mediation, acupuncture, cooking classes. Those who come pay whatever they can afford.

This is who you are and what you deserve, her business model tells north Minneapolis. Wholesome food, a healthy body, a peaceful mind — and a place to gather together and enjoy it all.

The idea to open Heal Mpls came to Carter and her team in the agonizing days after George Floyd's murder. The Zen Bin organized a wellness day, full of outdoor activities, group yoga, and enough vegan meals to feed more than 750 people in a part of town usually seen as a food desert — cut off from easy access to affordable, healthy groceries.

"It was beautiful," she said. "And then God said, 'Now we need a space for this. Put this in a container so people can enjoy this all the time.'"

The space she found to contain that day's joy is 4171 N. Lyndale Av. — a storefront that used to be a Greek restaurant, in a red brick building that used to be the Camden Park State Bank.

"The community has done more than show up for us," said Nancy Kingoina, Heal's chief operating officer. "They have been banging on our doors since before we opened, they've been peeking through the windows while we were painting, trying to finish recipe prep, getting the awnings up."

The restaurant is bright and airy, filled with plants, art, music and invitations to settle in and stay a while. There are piles of books to read, sketchbooks to fill, and rows of herb-filled apothecary jars to browse.

Some customers come in for a meal. Some open their laptops and settle in for the day, using the restaurant as their co-working space.

"I'm probably the person in the community who's here the most," said Rich Love, who created a line of flavorful green juices – Rich Water – for the restaurant. "You are what you eat. If you eat good, you feel good. If you feel good, you look good."

He also offers his services at Heal as a plant-based coach, working with customers to help them add more fruits and vegetables into their diets.

"I love it here," he said. "It's so open and welcoming. It's just always a good vibe."

Most mornings, when the staff opens the doors at 7 a.m., the first customers are waiting, Kingoina said, eager for a bowl of warm cinnamon quinoa porridge, or chickpea hash, or sweet potato scramble

The healers at Heal prefer the term plant-based to "vegan" – a word that conjures up processed soy patties masquerading as ground beef.

"A lot of people in the community aren't used to plant-based food," Carter said. So the staff worked to make sure the rotating menu included familiar comfort foods with a meatless twist.

Come for the Northside Nachos, piled high with black beans, veggies and avocado crema. Come back to try a hotdog made from carrots. Or some meatless collard greens and black-eyed peas. Sip a savory bowl of squash soup, or a green juice, or a steaming mug of herbal tea.

"Our whole mission is to heal the body," she said. "If you're in need of community and looking for like-minded individuals, stop in. We'd love to be part of your healing journey."