Meanwhile, Elena Pezzo's early plan was to have a fleet of vegan trucks rolling across Florida, not a permanent restaurant.
"If you would have told me a year ago I would have a successful café on 17th Street, I would've told you you had a better chance of hitting the lottery," says Pezzo, of Green Bar & Kitchen. "Broward is not like Manhattan, where you can park in one spot every day. You have to bounce around, and people asked, 'Can you go somewhere where we'll know where you are every single day?' "
After running a food truck for a little more than a year, she and her life partner, Charles Grippo, with investment from one of Tap 42's owners, found a permanent home.
This day, their airy, all-white café in a teal two-story building is packed with beautiful, silky-skinned people clad in yoga outfits. They sip Kombucha, a fizzy fermented green tea packed with vitamins, and nosh on spicy satisfying Buffalo tempeh sandwiches that can convince the most dedicated carnivores to add soy-based protein to their diets.
In retrospect, Pezzo says that having the truck before the restaurant turned out to be great. It let them find customers throughout South Florida while testing the waters for business without signing a lease. Some of the truck's "groupies," as Pezzo calls them, now man the juice and smoothie bar, which turns out drinks packed with superfoods like maca (a ground-up Peruvian root vegetable that's said to be an aphrodisiac) and goji berries (said to be one of nature's most nutrient-dense foods).
Two months ago, the pair sold the $55,000 truck.
"It was too much," she says.
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