Malama Cafe Offers Healthy Bites, Counter Culture Coffee

By Jessica Maurer, posted Sep 23, 2020
Among the items on Malama Cafe's menu are breakfast and lunch sandwiches. (Photo courtesy of Malama)
With a solid three months under their belts, the owners of Malama Cafe in Carolina Beach are ready to start welcoming more locals now that the boardwalk’s summer season is winding down.

Longtime friends LeeAnn Tluchowski and Kate Paredes opened the cafe quietly over Memorial Day weekend, preferring to stay under the radar a bit as they worked out the kinks that come with the opening of a new restaurant.

Tluchowski’s background is in the food industry and has worked with closely with her husband, Matt Picinnin, co-owner of Shuckin’ Shack, while Paredes has a background in nutrition and exercise.

“We wanted to do a simple, healthy, grab-n-go concept,” LeeAnn Tluchowski said. “And provide something new and different for the community.”

"Malama" is a Hawaiian word meaning to take care of, or to care for, be it for oneself, the environment, or others.

In addition to providing nutritious meals to customers, Malama Cafe is doing their part in caring for the environment by composting and using fully compostable serving containers.

“It is important to us to be mindful of being as green as possible,” Tluchowski said.

Malama’s menu features a variety of toasts with toppings ranging from avocado, tomato, egg and edamame to chocolate nut butter with berries and coconut. They also serve breakfast and lunch sandwiches and wraps, smoothies and acai bowls, and a variety of daily specials.

There are several vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options available and the new fall menu will feature soups as well as warm bowls of oatmeal and a blackberry and goat cheese panini.

Located in the same building as Fork n Cork, Malama is one of the only cafes south of Monkey Junction to offer Counter Culture coffee, something that the owners say they are proud to offer Pleasure Island residents.

While seating is still at 50% capacity, Malama offers a bright and sunny space with lots of natural light and several areas for relaxation or remote work. Fall hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. 7 days a week, and Malama plans to be open year-round.

Malama Cafe is located at 108 Cape Fear Blvd, #101 in Carolina Beach.

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