California Cafe Has Healthy Holiday Options

  • St Mary's County
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CALIFORNIA, Maryland -- This time of year, we sometimes find ourselves eating a whole lot of sweet treats and junk food, but the Tropical Smoothie Cafe in California offers healthier options.

The family-owned local business has been open since 2019. The menu features both delicious smoothies as well as sandwiches, bowls, and more. 


Co-owner Zak Purcell said the great thing about the smoothies is that they are completely customizable. You can add protein, vitamins, greens, grains, and more to any smoothie without affecting the taste. 

Purcell said it's his secret weapon to getting his vegetables. "One of my favorite things is to add spinach to a smoothie because you get the added health benefit. I hate eating greens, I'm 27 and I still hate eating my greens. I add it into my smoothie and I get my greens for the day. It's a big win for me."

Top Healthy Options

His top three recommendations for healthy smoothies:

Island Green - This drink features spinach, kale, pineapple, mango, and banana. Purcell promises it tastes like fruit. Order the Island Green Detox and they'll add fresh ginger.

Sunrise Sunset - Made with strawberries, pineapple, mango, and orange juice, this drink is very popular with customers. Purcell likes to add spinach powder or a vitamin boost to make it even healthier.

Chia Banana Boost -- If you're looking for something to get you through a long day, this drink offers roasted bananas, chia seeds, almond, whole grain oats, cinnamon, dates, coconut, and a choice of peanut butter or strawberries.

But this cafe offers a lot more than just smoothies. There are sandwiches, flatbreads, wraps, quesadillas, and even greens bowls. A hummus veggie bowl or Supergreen Caesar chicken salad fits the bill of both healthy and delicious. 

Purcell said his favorite treat is a quesadilla. "A quesadilla and a smoothie is the perfect size, you feel like you had a good meal."

Locally Owned Business

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a franchise and Purcell said many people don't realize that they are still a local business. While the restaurant pays to be able to use the name and company recipes, they are on their own. "People are like, you guys have corporate backing. No we don't. There's no financial help at all. We paid for the franchise, so we put money in."

The cafe counts on customers support and Purcell said their customers have been wonderful during the COVID-19 crisis. Many have understandably turned to pick up and delivery and the owner says he misses them. "When we started the business one of my favorite things was getting to mingle with customers. Now, you can't read customers like you used to.  It does take away from the personal touch. I still enjoying being up here. Our customers keep a happy positive attitude."

The restaurant offers limited dine-in. Customers can order pickup by phone or online. Food and smoothies are also available for delivery through third-party delivery services. 

First Job For Many Employees

Besides meeting customers, one of Purcell's favorite parts of owning the business is connecting with young employees. Tropical Smoothie Cafe employees between 20 and 30 employees depending on the season. For many of them, it's their first job. "We give a lot of young people their first work experience. It's kind of fun to imprint on them on what working's like. Teach them that you can have fun on the job. Show them that you get out of work what you put into it."

Zak Purcell said he hopes those who haven't tried the menu will consider checking them out. "Stop in and give us a try.  We always appreciate everyone's business."

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is located at 44980 St Andrews Church Road in California.

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