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Tropical Smoothie Cafe brings healthy options to Thayer Street

Chia Banana Cacao, Bahama Mama among indulgent smoothies offered at new eatery

Catering to just about every frozen fruit fantasy under the sun, Tropical Smoothie Cafe opened in the once-vacant lot above the Soban Korean Eatery on Thayer Street on Jan. 14. While a long list of “Supercharged” and “Superfood” smoothies appease the Cafe’s health-conscious patrons, it also offers a selection of “Indulgent” smoothies like the “Chia Banana Cacao” and the “Bahama Mama,” which contain sweets such as chocolate, peanut butter, and other guilty pleasures. Customers looking to grab lunch on the go might be enticed by the Cafe’s “Smoothie and a Half” deal: a smoothie as well as a half of a sandwich for $7.99. This will be the second Tropical Smoothie Cafe in the University’s vicinity, joining an older location on Waterman Street.

“The (Waterman) location is more for people who are ‘on the go’ and need a quick meal for lunch,” said Devin McKeever, the manager of both the Thayer and Waterman locations. “This new (location) will provide college students with a nice place to hang out and study and drink smoothies.”

The new location is already popular among Brown students. “We have a couple of athletic teams that have been regulars so far,” McKeever added.

“I love smoothies, and before this new location opened, it was hard to find them around here,” said Signe Burchim GS, a Cafe customer and first-year grad student who used to frequent the Cafe’s Waterman location. “I’m very excited that the new location is closer to campus”

“There was clearly a lack of smoothies on Thayer Street, and now there’s a place for exactly that — smoothies,” said Julia Rosenfeld ’19. “They’re surprisingly fairly priced,” Rosenfeld added, tempering her enthusiasm of the store with some censure of the smoothies’ likely high sugar content. “Those smoothies are so intimidatingly large — there’s no way they could be healthy...”

When asked about the reasoning behind the University property’s new allocation of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, John Luipold, Brown’s assistant vice president of real estate, said, “The space that Tropical Smoothie Cafe now occupies on Thayer was once a bar, and we did not want to add another bar to Thayer Street.” Thayer previously played host to the Shark Bar and Grille across the street from the now Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

“We wanted to have something that was a little more family-friendly and easier to manage, frankly,” Luipold said. “We just thought that Tropical Smoothie Cafe would be great for not only Brown students but also for families in the neighborhood and visitors coming to Brown.”

The Cafe will join the ranks of other health-conscious options on Thayer, such as by CHLOE and Pokéworks. “It’s a relatively healthy alternative to some of the other fare on Thayer,” said Luipold.

“There’s a lot of change going on in the retail community and a lot of it is that older business models that used to work are not as popular as they used to be,” Luipold said, in reference to the recently closed Au Bon Pain’s business plan.



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