- March 1, 2016
Ormond Beach restaurant owner Jose Nevarez has dedicated most of his life to food. But bubble teas? Those are new.
Nevarez, who owns Fresh Guacamole Tequila and Bar at 1930 W. Granada Blvd., opened a bubble tea and smoothie cafe about three weeks ago. Wild and Raw is located a few storefronts down from his Mexican restaurant and features a menu that includes acai bowls, juices, latin pizzas and breakfast items.
"We wanted to try to this new concept," said Nevarez, who has been in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. "The bubble teas are becoming very popular in the whole country, I believe, and we decided to go and give it a try."
Wild and Raw will be managed by his son, Jose Nevarez Jr. and his son's wife Melissa Mendez.
And how do you expand from running a Mexican restaurant to opening a bubble tea cafe? The Nevarez family attended a bubble tea training academy in San Francisco.
"We brew our teas fresh every morning," Nevarez Jr. said. "We cook our tapiocas every morning for our bubble tea."
Wild and raw isn't your average bubble tea place either, his father added. Their menu items, some of which like the El Pastor pizza contain a Mexican flair, is what makes them unique.
We wanted to try to this new concept. The bubble teas are becoming very popular in the whole country, I believe, and we decided to go and give it a try." — Jose Nevarez, owner of Wild and Raw
"You go to a bubble tea shop, you're probably going to find a couple of cakes they offer and then bubble teas, fruit teas," Nevarez said. "If you want a smoothie, you need to go to a smoothie shop. If you want an acai bowl, you go for an acai bowl in a different place."
Nevarez has been part of the Ormond Beach community for about 10 years. He previously managed Agave Fresh Mex & Cantina before he decided to venture out on his own and open Fresh Guacamole about four years ago.
When his family heard about an open space in the same plaza as their restaurant, they jumped on it. Wild and Raw has been in the making for about a year and three months.
The cafe's interior is tropical, with fruit-themed murals on its walls and a mirrored wall featuring colorful angel wings.
"We wanted something bright," Nevarez Jr. said.
The family came up with the name of the cafe while on the highway with friends.
"We were just throwing names out there, and Wild and Raw stuck," Nevarez Jr. said.
It represented what they wanted their cafe to be about: A "wild" variety of items made with fresh ingredients.
"We'd like to let the community know that we're here to serve them and make them happy," Nevarez said.