A new business on Bloomfield Avenue in Verona is living up to its name.
PositiviTea, which opens Friday, radiates positive energy, from the friendly owners to the names of the items on the smoothie and juice menu, such as “I am Awesome,” “I am Radiant” and “I am Powerful.”
The drinks, and all the food served at PositiviTea, are vegan, soy free and gluten free to match the lifestyle of co-owner and chef Abe Sharkas.
“There are not a lot of individuals who kind of understand this lifestyle,” Sharkas said.
His goal is to build bridges between health and delicious food.
Sharkas himself is a positive role model. At 16, he weighed 315 lbs., suffered from high cholesterol and was concerned about his family history of diabetes and prostate cancer.
Now 24, slim and with a clean bill of health, he is ready to share all he’s learned with a wider audience.
“All vitals are wonderful, completely different from when I was younger,” he said.
On the menu this week is a vegan carrot cake, made with a walnut base and cashew cream cheese filling, as well as vegan apple pie and his signature Puffles, part cream puff, part truffle.
PositiviTea promises to be more than a restaurant and juice bar.
Sharkas plans to bring in chefs who will create multi-course raw food dinners while demonstrating recipes and techniques. There will also be cooking classes for children and adults, including chefs interested in learning more about raw food.
The space will also host poetry jams, musicians and art shows. Local artists are welcome to display their work on the walls at no cost. If a piece is sold, the owners will put a percentage of the selling price toward the PositiviTea Scholarship Fund for local students interested in the arts.
As another way to give back, PositiviTea will offer “I am Positive and Abundant,” an apple, carrot and celery blend, for a donation. Money collected from sales of the drink will be donated to local charities.
Sharkas’ partners are his high school friend Eric Sosa and his wife, Maria Sosa.
Eric Sosa reached out to Abe to help finance his vision for PositiviTea after his grandmother’s diagnosis with cirrhosis of the liver drove him to seek a healthier lifestyle.
Sosa had been running one of his family’s Peruvian restaurants.
“I wanted to start doing something more positive, more beneficial,” he said.
In addition to good vibes, the restaurant is big on green. All packaging, utensils and service wear is plant-based and compostable.
PositiviTea will host its first open-mic night on Friday. Sign-up sheet starts at 7:30 p.m.
550 Bloomfield Ave., Verona
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