Welcome to California in New York City
Have you ever been to a place or met a person who just gets “it”? It being a connection, something different, or just something that genuinely grabs your attention in a new way. Well, Summers Juice and Coffee is one of those places. I promise!
I think the best way for me to describe my experience would be to share the story of the day I interviewed the owner, Chris Taha. On this day, I woke up excited as f***! I had heard about Summers from my (only) friend who regularly knows more about restaurant destinations than me. By this point, I had obviously done my homework and was very excited. Upon my first interaction with Summers as a brand, I realized how young and fresh/cool it seemed. Videos of skateboarders drinking fresh juice, sidewalk signs with curse words blocked out (due to complaining), and general restaurant decor that is very clearly built around surfing and skateboarding culture. All of these small elements contributed to what I knew would be at least a half interesting interview/experience. It definitely was.
Summers as a brand, I realized how young and fresh/cool it seemed. Videos of skateboarders drinking fresh juice, sidewalk signs with curse words blocked out (due to complaining), and general restaurant decor that is very clearly built around surfing and skateboarding culture. All of these small elements contributed to what I knew would be at least a half interesting interview/experience. It definitely was.
I waited for Chris for roughly 30 minutes. While waiting, I took a walk around the area, got some footage for the interview, and just took a good look around the restaurant. The first thing that I realized was that all of the employees seemed happy. It didn’t seem like it was a burden for them to be at work, which is huge. In my opinion, this is usually a good indicator of who is at the top, how much they care about their employees, and how well of a job they’re doing. It’s easy to get people to do a job, but it’s tougher to get people to do a job with a smile that is not forced. The second thing I realized was the reggae music, because you could not miss it. Believe me when I tell you, this reggae music selection could rival any reggae night in NYC, no lie, it was LIT. After examining the spot for a while and waiting for Chris, I received an e-mail from him saying he was at his second location in SoHo, while I was in Brooklyn (oops). I got an egg sandwich before leaving, ate it while speed walking to the train, and got to the 2nd location fairly quickly. Upon arriving at the second location, I saw Chris and was greeted with an immediate
“YO! I am so sorry about the confusion!”
but it was cool. Little did Chris know that I learned a lot more about Summers Juice & Coffee from just being at the first location and studying what he had done to make it really feel like California in New York City. I got it.
After getting all set up and ready to shoot at the second location, Chris and I were just chatting about everything under the sun from Instagram, to Hip Hop, to ingredients/cooking, he even fed a customers dog a couple of treats from his doggy treat container. Yes, a container of dog treats just for customers’ dogs, so cool! Chris is just a guy that truly and wholeheartedly cares about his business, and you can feel that as a guest. He wants to teach kids how to drink/eat healthy and maintain an active lifestyle. He wants to employ great people who might not get the same job at a similar type of place in Manhattan, and he does something that is both unique and courageous by bringing a piece of who he genuinely is into his business.
We finished the interview, and he even walked me through how the infamous egg sandwich is made within the video. All of the ingredients used in summers are of the best quality, and extremely fresh.
This interview made me wish that other restaurant owners would truly own their overall restaurant theme, and tie it back to who they are as a person or to a goal. This makes such a huge difference when owners not only do something that is unique in its own right, but is also true to themselves as owners.
If you’re ever in the SoHo or Williamsburg area, check out either location of Summers Juice & Coffee for one of NYC’s greatest breakfast sandwiches and a fresh pressed juice. Also, please use the hashtag #BeyondTheEats to let me know you went, and what you thought.
See you next story,