As the national trend toward eating and drinking healthier, plant-based products is on the rise, restaurants like Island Organics, in downtown Venice, is reaping the benefits.
Kathy Dippolito and her daughter Alexa opened the smoothie/juice bar and cafe a little more than five years ago, and since then, business has been booming — especially since they expanded into a vacant storefront next door two and a half years ago.
Alexa says that she and her mother hit upon the right formula at the right time.
“We offer fresh, healthy, quick food that’s very accessible to people,” she said. “I just felt like when we moved here (from Pennsylvania), there just weren’t enough healthy options available.”
Island Organics started out as primarily a smoothie and juice bar, with a few light food options. But they’ve now added wraps, sandwiches, paninis, salads and bowls to their menu. The restaurant lives up to their name, offering foods and beverages made only with organic, seasonal and all-natural ingredients, the perfect thing for those who are trying to live up to that New Year’s resolution to keep a closer watch on what they’re consuming.
Alexa said that the smoothies are still big sellers at Island Organics.
“We have two kinds of smoothies, green and specialty,” she said. “The specialty ones are all made of ‘super foods.’ Then we have our juices, which are custom blends we make with a cold press juicer.”
She said that smoothie bowls, a fairly new trend, are becoming one of the most sought after items at the restaurant. Just like smoothies that are poured into a glass, smoothie bowls are made up of blended juices or milks, and vegetable and fruits. There is usually a base of something like a frozen banana or blended avocado, and then the toppings can be made up of anything—nuts, seeds, berries, sliced fruit and more.
One of the most requested smoothie bowl toppings at Island Organics is granola, because like everything else served there, even the hummus, it is made fresh and on-site.
“People just love them (the smoothie bowls,)” Alexa said. “The Tropical Bowl is very popular, and has pitaya, banana, mango and pineapple, topped with granola, banana, blueberries, coconut and honey.”
Looking for something a little more savory? The restaurant also offers homemade soups and other fresh options like the B.L.A.T. sandwich, which includes avocado, romaine, tomato and turkey bacon served on in-house prepared whole grain bread, and a Chicken & Artichoke Panini, with aioli, spinach, chicken, artichokes and mozzarella.
They’ve also added some breakfast items to the menu, which means that eating super-healthy for the most important meal of the day at a restaurant is now an option when in downtown Venice.
“For breakfast, we do egg sandwiches and wraps and avocado toast, as well as almond butter and banana toast and steel cut oatmeal,” Alexa said. “We also just stared making three-ounce ginger and turmeric shots. We’ve been getting busier and busier, and have been finding that people have even been placing large orders to pick up. Business has been good.”