When you interview over 50 different food, coffee, and beverage entrepreneurs over a year, you begin to notice certain trends. They’re all passionate about their craft, feel a calling to create, and want to contribute to a growing community. The aspiration to put Utah on the foodie map can be found in ways big and small. For Briar Handly, the co-owner of Handle and HSL, developing a hyper-local, hyper-seasonal restaurant was one way to help Utah take one giant step forward.
Omar Abou-Ismail doesn't have your typical restaurant owner story. Originally born in Lebanon, Omar and his family traveled and lived throughout West Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Middle East, and eventually settled in Utah. After studying geophysics and mechanical engineering at the University of Utah, he began working with the U.S. Navy as a geophysicist. And then, in 2005, he opened Rawtopia. You could say it was a bit of a leap in career.
What started as a curiosity about the raw food movement became a passion, and his love for sustainability and care for the earth only fueled the flames. After he switched to a raw food diet, Omar began to feel more healthy, happy, and energetic. This new-found life style change felt akin to a spiritual awakening, and Omar wanted to share this feeling with the Salt Lake City community.
Rawtopia opened in Sugar House in 2005, and has become a staple in Salt Lake. Along with providing high-quality, healthy food, it also serves as an educational resource for people who are unfamiliar with what the raw food diet entails. Overcoming adversity, trials, and tribulations, Rawtopia has also celebrated many victories.
Join us as we sit down with Omar Abou-Ismail, and dive into his fascinating story, and all the lessons and changes that led to the creation of Rawtopia. We also learn what it means to eat raw food, and how the physical, mental, and sometimes spiritual benefits of a healthy and raw diet.
Mark DelVecchio and Dana Brewster have always been curious. With Mark's background as an educator and Dana's career as the owner of Millcreek Coffee Roasters, curiosity about the world around them and the food we consume has driven their careers and passions.
When Mark's career brought them to Ethiopia, Dana's research and exploring led to cocoa beans. These delicious cocoa beans inspired Dana, and her coffee roasting background gave her an idea. With big dreams in mind, Dana and Mark dove into artisan chocolate making. What started as a challenge to develop high quality chocolate led to a passionate business that delivers internationally award winning chocolate, from heirloom certified bean growers who are locally sourced and sustainably maintained.
Join us as we learn about Mark and Dana’s fascinating backstory, and travel with them on their chocolate adventure. If there's one thing we learned, it's that love, chocolate, and a sense of adventure lead to great things.
Vive Juicery is cold-press juice shop in Sugarhouse that makes fresh fruit and vegetable juices -- and it's the product of Brittany Thaxton's blood, sweat, and tears over the past two years.
And just this week, Vive is celebrating the grand opening of their second location in downtown Salt Lake City, right by People's Coffee on 219 E Broadway. So today we sit down with Brittany to reflect back on their last two years, starting all the way to their farmer’s market days, to their original Kickstarter campaign that got them the startup capital they needed to make Vive a reality, and all the way up to today, where they have 20 employees, two locations, and press a lot of juice.
Join us today on an episode of The Utah Foodie that takes us through all this and more with Vive Juicery owner Brittany Thaxton and our host Chase Murdock.
Sugar House: 1597 S 1100 E
Downtown SLC: 219 E Broadway