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Hidden Gems: Meet Carol Roizen of Parakeet Cafe and Parakeet Juicery

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carol Roizen.

Hi Carol, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Our life journey leads us to find and explore the life-altering powers of organic, whole foods and ethically grown ingredients.

Our youngest daughter, Michelle, was born with a rare disease. Her road to recovery taught us a lot about how much impact food has on one’s health. We experienced firsthand the healing powers of food, and we lived by Hippocrates’ motto: “Let food be thy medicine.” Little did we know, this became the inspiration and soul of our business. We were driven by the idea of revolutionizing the way people perceive healthy food. Healthy food can look and taste fantastic. It’s all about quality, integrity, creativity, and starting with fresh, real ingredients.

We first opened a vegan juice bar that eventually grew into a cafe concept. Parakeet Cafe was born out of our effort to fulfill a need within our own community; to have real food made out of real ingredients in a very fun, happy, and inviting environment. Our intention is to build a community of like-minded people and to bring them together by sharing one of life’s greatest pleasures; share a meal, have a drink.

As of now, we have four juice bars and four cafes located in Little Italy, La Jolla, Coronado, and One Paseo. We are very grateful to our community for valuing and appreciating our commitment to provide the means for them to have a healthy and delicious lifestyle.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
This has been an amazing learning and growing experience. There is nothing smooth about running a restaurant, but our motivation comes from our soul, our life story, and our commitment to try as hard as we can to change peoples’ lives for the better.

When we started, we didn’t have any background on the restaurant industry, and the challenges that came with it have been numerous. Any problem that arises from staffing to equipment malfunctioning or even a leak, we keep moving forward because we have a very clear vision of what we are trying to accomplish, and we know that it’s greater than any obstacle that we may find along the way.

We’ve been impressed with Parakeet Cafe and Parakeet Juicery, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our mission is to fuel San Diego with real, organic, whole foods that taste amazing and are also good for you. We use only the highest quality ingredients we can get; local, organic, non-gmo, and sustainable, and then we create amazing dishes that will nourish your body and your soul. We want to indulge in your health by creating food that is real, made with love and shared.

We are known for our toasts, our creative egg dishes, salads, vegan bowls, our wild salon burger, wellness lattes, amazing pastries, our fan-favorite vegan banana oat muffin, and our beautiful custom made parakeet wallpaper. I think what sets us apart from the competition is our attention to detail, from the quality of the ingredients and unique flavors to the interiors. We are also very proud because recently, we started roasting our own coffee right here by the ocean. Minimizing our carbon footprint and making sure our beans are ethically sourced.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
The most important lesson I have learned is that a restaurant is a living, breathing entity, and it is continually changing. There is no planning, not one day goes by that we don’t get a surprise of some kind. It can be something super fun and exciting like a very famous person coming in, or a disaster like a broken steamer, but there is always something going on that we didn’t anticipate or foresee. This is something that I have worked very hard to accept.

I have learned to stay present, practice patience, fix every situation as it arises, and most importantly, I have learned to lead with kindness and compassion. A restaurant is a very fun environment where you meet and connect with fantastic people, but behind the scenes, it can be overwhelming. I find that the way that I handle each and every situation, from a customer complaint to a kitchen emergency, is how I make the biggest difference in the people around me. Having learned this lesson, I will continue to lead with patience, kindness, and compassion in the hope that people will do the same.

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