Healthy and Vegetarian Food Options Come to Flatbush

Smoothies at Natural Blend Vegan Cafe Juice Bar and Restaurant. Photo by Deja Wallace.


Vegetarianism, juice bars, and vegetarian restaurants have spiked in popularity in recent decades. This positive trend was expedited during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was a wake-up call for many people to transition to a more health-conscious lifestyle.

In 2011, Dave Wallace, founder of Natural Blend Vegan Cafe Juice Bar and Restaurant decided to leave his laundromat business and join the vegan movement.

“I was baking, bringing stuff to my friends. And you know, I was making smoothies, home, bringing it to my friends and they were like, ‘Dave listen, man, you need to do a business with this. Cause people will always be requesting stuff,’ explained Wallace. “I was like, okay, I gotta go and make a carrot cake, you know. And then it started getting a little overwhelming.”

What ultimately pushed Wallace to open a smoothie shop was a distasteful smoothie he had while visiting a smoothie shop in Florida. This ultimately was the push Wallace needed to go back home to Brooklyn and start a juice bar and bakery called Natural Blend.

What distinguishes Natural Blend from their competition is their variety of Jamaican style cuisine. It’s a healthy alternative to Jamaican food without sacrificing the spices and the flavors the cuisine is known and loved for.

Between Saint Johns Place and Washington Avenue, at that time, his store was in demand, because there were only a few other juice bars in central Brooklyn – in Park Slope and Downtown Brooklyn.

Many  people in the neighborhood were happy to see a juice bar open up in the neighborhood.

“I’ve been coming here consistently for 10 years, and I am so grateful they’re here,” said Elizabeth Raymond, on her way into the Natural Blend for lunch.

At one point, she had to travel all the way downtown Brooklyn to get a smoothie.

The Rastafarianism culture derives from a community typically following a vegetarian diet.

This Jamaican religion has a large community around the Flatbush and Church Avenue location. Many of Natural Blend’s customers at this location are eager to enjoy the new location with a Jamaican-infused menu that supports their lifestyle and culture.

“Since I started working here this menu is constantly being updated from jerk plantain patties to Kale patties,” says Avante Davis, a cook working at the restaurant.

To stay in business, with a very competitive market Natural Blend is constantly reinventing itself, listening to its customers, and they’re not afraid to experiment with new products to meet that market demand.