FLA Juice & Bowl's opening on Saturday, June 10 marked the culmination of a year’s work by owners Ande and Daniel Bluett, whose new Jacksonville Beach business is the latest offering in the pressed juice market. But the Ponte Vedra couple is determined to deliver the experience with a twist – the juice, smoothie and bowl cafe’s offerings also include fresh seafood and coffee.
It was an idea born of inspiration from the West Coast – specifically, San Diego and Santa Barbara – where the couple lived for about three years before returning to Jacksonville Beach in 2013. There, Ande said, the fresh-squeezed juice market reigned supreme; on the First Coast, however, offerings were comparatively sparse.
After deliberating the possibility of owning a juice cafe of their own making, it was Daniel’s love for fishing and acai bowls that ultimately pushed the couple to make the leap.
“We just thought, ‘Why don’t we go ahead and give it a try?’” Ande Bluett said. “It’s the first time either of us has owned a business, so it’s been a big undertaking. But we’re both passionate, we care about quality and we’re really excited to see where this goes.”
As overwhelming as it’s been, the couple has shown no signs of slowing; Daniel applied his construction background into remodeling the entire space himself in the Pineapple Post’s former location on Third Street. In addition to sourcing local vendors such as Mayport C&C Fisheries, they’ve also enlisted the help of local artists to transform the walls of FLA Juice & Bowl into a rotating gallery space from which art can be purchased.
The result is an all-in-one cafe whose offerings range from acai and pitaya bowls made with ingredients such as kiwi, granola, bee pollen and coconut flakes to poke bowls comprised of tuna, salmon or wahoo, white rice and organic mixed greens. FLA Juice & Bowl also offers both hot and iced coffee, kombucha, a selection of house made smoothies and bottled, pressed juice.
The nature of the business, like most in the long stretch of Jacksonville Beach, is almost purely symbiotic. For those reasons, Ande said, the move just made sense.
“I grew up on the beach in Ponte Vedra and Daniel is from Ortega,” she said. “And we just love the feel and we love the people here – this is where we’ve set up our home. So, opening a business in a community like this was the obvious choice. It’s a great community because local businesses support one another.”
Moving forward, Ande said she’s excited for the possibility of expansion and growth. But, for the time being, she’s happy to offer an experience that will gain a local following.
“What makes us stand out is quality, fresh, organic ingredients and healthier options,” she said. “And I’m … really looking forward to welcoming people back and seeing customers visit the cafe over and over. We want people to come in, eat well and leave feeling good.”