Organic Avenue's Plans for Raw-Food Domination Continue to Take Shape
With its rainbow of groovy raw drinks and a new shop called the Space of Love, it's easy to dismiss Organic Avenue as some crunchy, fringey, hippie place for those who have nothing better to do than not cook, monitor their colons, and attend yoga retreats. But it's harder to dismiss the fact that its owners have managed to open three locations of a store in an economy where even established, beloved food businesses are shutting their doors.
And Organic Avenue has been on the move in a big way. The Space of Love opened quietly at 116 Suffolk Street on January 15, with the company shuttering its original 300-square-foot location at 101 Stanton Street that same day. "We don't really need both," says co-owner Doug Evans. The Suffolk Street location will be 4,000 square feet when fully built out, with the lower level serving as the company's offices. A planned "elixir bar" that will serve freshly pressed juices is not yet in place, its concrete slab of a counter serving as seating for those who come in to grab prepared raw lasagna, falafel, juices, or almond "mylk." One raw food un-cooking class has already been held in the space, and more events, seminars, and meditation opportunities are planned.
The company has been expanding in other ways, too: The 4,200-square-foot commercial kitchen added over the summer in Long Island City is no longer big enough to handle demand. "We already have needs for more space," says Denise Mari, Organic Avenue's co-owner.
With this in mind, she and Evans last week signed a lease on the 4,000-square-foot kitchen next door, intending to add more dehydration facilities in order to increase production of dried snacks. And the shop-in-shop at Paul Labrecque East salon on East 65th Street, which opened in October, has been performing so well that the team debuted a similar concept on Monday at the Norma Kamali boutique on West 56th Street, offering a changing daily menu of soups, juices, and smoothies; it will also serve as another pick-up location for the company's popular cleanse programs.
Organic Avenue's uptown migration is no coincidence. "We've been investigating Upper East Side locations," Mari says, noting that her biggest demographic hails from that area. Of course, prices at Organic Avenue are more in line with uptown budgets: think $14 Portobello wraps and $20 bags of macaroons. We'll know citywide domination is complete when the telltale green drinks pop up on Gossip Girl.
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