Wild Blue, 1125 S. Beacon Blvd., is now serving healthy options, including organic juices, smoothies and raw food.
“It's more like a health shop,” said Allie Atwell, who owns Wild Blue with her husband, Sam.
The Atwells ran Allie's father's Great American Bagel store in Holland until it burned down several years ago. They decided to follow their passion and pursue a health business, even though neither had experience in nutrition.
“We really wanted to be doing something healthy,” Allie said. “It wasn't worth the effort to reopen something we weren't excited about.”
Since they lived in Holland, the Atwells started searching for a location there, but nothing panned out.
“We found the place in Grand Haven that was for sale and decided that would be a good spot,” she said. “Obviously, there's nothing like it there.”
Allie said she and Sam learned about the importance of nutritional food when Sam's mother battled cancer.
“We went the holistic route taking care of her,” Allie said. “That's where we got to learn a lot about food and the benefits of eating well. Obviously, with the traditional American diet, there's a big difference in what we should be eating daily and what most people do eat daily. And really, what's available — there aren't many good options out there. We really felt there was a need for it.”
They don't use any powders or pre-made mixes in their drinks.
“Everything we use is fresh and in its most whole form,” Allie said.
For protein, they use things like kemp or pumpkin seeds. Most offerings are vegan, although they do include Greek yogurt and honey in some menu items, which are all organic.
They make acai bowls with organic granola, sliced fruit and coconut, and snacks such as raw crackers made from juice pulp.
“We add in nuts and seeds and make crackers out of the pulp in the dehydrator,” Allie said. “Those are really good for you.”
They also concoct snack bars out of dates and peanut butter.
“We want to make things taste good, but it's not like going out for pizza,” Allie said. “It has more of a purpose behind it. You're trying to get nutrients in your body. We have a lot of people who are fighting cancer or are sick and want to boost their immune system.”
Allie said they decided to keep the Wild Blue name for now, but may change that in the future. However, frozen yogurt is no longer on the menu.
“It's hard to put frozen yogurt — which is kind of an unhealthy thing — along with what we are doing,” she said. “The smoothies are definitely a big hit. People do that as meal replacement for lunch or breakfast.”
One of the more popular smoothies is the Swamp Root, which has spinach, pineapple, coconut water and banana.
“You don't taste the spinach,” Allie said. “It's a good way for people to essentially drink a salad, and it tastes tropical.”
The Immunity Alloy has freshly squeezed orange juice, ginger, pineapple and chia seeds.
“It's a little difficult to get used to,” Allie said. “But we have a lot of family and friends who are steak-and-potato people, and they can honestly say they enjoy a lot of our stuff. There are so many flavors when you have fresh ingredients.”
Allie said the benefits of eating and drinking healthy foods go way beyond the time you ingest them.
“There are long-term results from what we put in our body,” she explained. “Every toxin gets stored until our body can't deal with it and it comes out in different ailments or cancers. It's not just what we eat — it’s the toxins around us, or what we put on our skin. When you eat differently, it's amazing how much better you feel. There's definitely a lot more energy, you don't have that bloated feeling after you eat a lot and cravings go away.”
Wild Blue is open from 8 a.m to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.