Alaia Juice Bar & Bistro, formerly located at the Islander Kwik Mart Sonoco gas station in Kure Beach, has reopened at 716 N. Lake Park Blvd., next door to Soul Flavor in Carolina Beach.
Juice bar owner Staci Murray said that the owners of Soul Flavor, Mimi Mowery and Chris Newton, encouraged her to take over the space, which was previously occupied by Froyoz frozen yogurt but has been vacant for the past two years.
“We’re creating a little healthy food hub right here,” Murray said. “We agreed that I would serve breakfast and lunch and Mimi and Chris will serve lunch and dinner.”
Murray’s menu focuses on fresh-squeezed juices and healthy breakfast and lunch items such as acai bowls, wraps and salads. She has worked under numerous chefs across the country since the age of 17, earning a degree in nutrition along the way.
“I always wanted to open a juice bar here,” Murray said. “There is a lot of fried food on the island and I wanted to offer something fresh, clean and healthy.”
Murray said the opportunity to open a walk-up counter at the gas station, which she operated from March until December of last year, allowed her to test the market and guage customer’s response to her healthy offerings. She said the response was great, but because of the limited space, she couldn’t juice at that location.
Murray signed the lease on her new location in February, and has been working since that time to renovate the space. It’s a bright and cheery spot with a variety of tables and bar seating, decorated with Hawaiian Alaias
– the first Hawaiian long board surf boards – and hand-drawn tropical flowers created by Murray herself.
The juice menu contains seven signature organic juices and as well as a build-your-own option, and the nutritional benefits of all ingredients are posted, allowing customers to create juices that suit their specific needs. Alaia’s juices are created with a Nutrifaster juicer, which separates the pulp from the juice of the fruit and vegetables. While this method requires many more pieces of fruit per cup of juice, Murray said she likes the fact that the juices are more nutrient dense.
Customers can also build their own salads with a choice of six proteins, four cheeses and plenty of additional toppings. Many of the wraps are vegetarian, although customers will find turkey, chicken and bacon options. There is also a tuna salad prepared with apples, sunflower seeds, celery and green onions. A grab-n-go cooler is stocked with a selection of acai bowls and salads for those on the go.
Murray said that the top-selling breakfast items are the acai bowls that include organic acai blended with a choice of blueberry or raspberry and vegan protein powder, chia seeds, banana and coconut water; and The Frieda, a pressed tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, black beans, feta cheese and pico de gallo.
Alaia Juice Bar & Bistro is at 716 N. Lake Park Blvd., No. 2, and is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
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