I'm Sam Heyer, Denver real estate agent and local supporter. I sat down with Joseph Stone, owner and chef of Superfood Bar on Platt Street in Denver, to learn more about why he started the business, why him and his wife chose the neighborhood they did and what their plans are for the next year. If you're looking for a healthy spot to grab breakfast, lunch or dinner this is the place to try!
Describe your business
The Superfood Bar story started in New Orleans in 2009 as the very first vegan restaurant in the state of Louisiana. At the time the very use and meaning of the word “Superfood”, which is now part of our everyday vocabulary, was still unknown to the large public. Of the 150 plus restaurants that have called themselves Superfood Bar, our New Orleans location was the first. We are the original!
The mission is to make healthy eating attractive and accessible to everyone. From the beginning, Superfood Bar employed an ethical and sustainable 'whole food approach' and only uses 100% organic and plant-based ingredients. This means no preservatives, no added sugars, no ready-made nut milks as well as no gluten, soy, and no corn. All without sacrificing any of the taste!
Owner, Joseph Stone, opened Superfood Bar to serve you something better than the watered-down version of health food which has recently taken over the industry.
What made you decide to open this business?
It was a culmination of health problems, Joseph's upbringing and working in restaurants for many years that led him to open Superfood Bar in Denver in 2017, after starting it in New Orleans in 2009 (the New Orleans location sadly closed in 2019).
'Growing up in the 70’s, I spent many years living with my father and stepmother on their organic vegetable farm in rural Arkansas. My stepmother (and personal food hero!) Desiree was an amazing cook and loved experimenting with healthy, plant-based recipes. I remember spending endless hours deep in the forest that surrounded our farm studying nature and its interrelated systems. From then on, I made it a goal to learn as much as I could about sustainable food practices.' - Joseph Stone
How did you get started?
Joseph had many years of experience working in restaurants that led him to open his own restaurant. He didn't want to necessarily lead the industry, but wanted to do something on his own terms that was unique.
'As a young man I traveled across the country to follow my two passions: music and food. During those formative years, I gathered all the information I could on all types of health-food retail models. I researched their menus, ingredients, practices, and business-models. I have frequented and worked at raw and vegan restaurants since 1988. By the time I opened Superfood Bar in the fall of 2009, I had worked in over 35 restaurants including several health-food cafes as well as in the fine dining arena alongside renowned Chefs such as Sean Brock and Bobby Benjamin. What started out as a 180 square foot storefront to sell my homemade Kombucha, on the then lackluster stretch of Magazine Street, soon became a full-fledged cafe restaurant. This is when my dear friend and Restaurant August alumni, Chef Amie Havens, joined the team. Through years of trial-and-error Amie and I invested lots of energy in creating and perfecting the most wholesome & nutritious cuisine while staying true to our original concepts of sustainability and culinary precision. Our New Orleans location sadly closed in 2019 after proudly serving the beloved New Orleans community for close to 10 years. It was our honor to be a part of it for such a long time.' - Joseph Stone
What would your customers say they love most about your business?
'Well I think they love the food, probably wish it would happen a little faster. We make it all from scratch. We're getting more people to order online so that it's ready when they get here.'
What are your goals over the next year?
They would like to build out a subscription meal delivery service. Some of their regular clients are already doing this, but it's not formal or setup online. Joseph was speaking with investors prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now something he'd like to focus on again and build out. He's looking for investors who are interested in helping get this up and running.
Additionally, they make and bottle their own hot sauce. It's for sale in the restaurant, but could certainly be expanded and available more broadly (starting locally first and nationally over time) if they had the infrastructure and resources to grow.
What were the factors that made you choose this neighborhood?
'Well, just really the vibe of it. I moved here from New Orleans and New Orleans has just character and it oozes from every brick in the whole town so, this downtown more historic neighborhood felt right.'
You can learn more about Superfood Bar by visiting their community profile page here.