When Shantel Grace and her husband, Tim, moved back to Lawrence after living in Hawaii for five years, the couple knew they wanted to bring a piece of the islands back with them. But, their small restaurant, Ramen Bowls, just couldn’t support all the products they wanted to provide.
So in August 2017, they opened their juice cafe, Luckyberry.
“We for years, more than a decade, had talked about opening a restaurant together,” Shantel said. “It was in Hawaii that we got very passionate about traditional Japanese ramen, and we got really passionate about cold pressed juice and smoothie bars and juice bars and açai bowls.”
Since then, Luckyberry has taken off with a wide variety of customers, from “townies,” to business professionals to college students.
“I think the only type of customer we haven’t reached yet are those who get scared off by the fact that they think we’re a healthy place. And we are a healthy place, but what they don’t realize is it’s also awesome food,” Shantel said.
Even the employees at Luckyberry come back to eat when they’re off work, according to Luckyberry shift lead Rochelly Elias.
“I love this place,” Elias said. “When I’m not working, I think it’s cool, like, my friends always want to come here.”
According to Shantel, the store is most popular for its cold pressed juices. Outside of the store, the juices are also sold at The Merc Co+op, and are used at local bars and restaurants for drinks and dishes.
Aside from the juices, though, Shantel said that the biggest menu item among customers on a daily basis are the store's açai bowls.
“It’s like a sorbet, so you feel like you’re eating this really decadent, luxurious treat, when in fact, you’re eating something with about as much nutrition as you’d need in a day, which is incredible, and it’s beautiful,” Shantel said. “I would say if you collected our staff in one room and asked them what their favorite thing to make is, it’s 100 percent the açai bowl. They’re competitive with it, they want to outdo each other."
Shantel says that the cafe is most crowded on a “hot, sunny, beautiful day,” and she is looking forward to the busyness the summer will bring.