By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – For those lucky enough to have stumbled across the South Beach location of Pura Vida, there is more good news, the restaurant has expanded bringing their mix of fast-casual dinning with natural and organic, locally sourced plates to a table near you.
The original SoFi (South of Fifth street) location, on 110 Washington Avenue, opened in 2012 by CEO and founder Omer Horev as a ‘neighborhood Costa Rican inspired surf-themed cafe, serving the locals the best açaí, wraps, and our famous Pura Vida sauce’.
Jennifer Horev, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer at Pura Vida Miami, recounts, “Fast forward two years my husband [Omer] and I meet, fall in love, travel the world and turn his side passion project into a full-time, all day cafe.”
Inspired by their travels and the access to healthy organic ingredients, when they returned they knew they wanted to expand the concept across Miami. The idea of a neighborhood cafe that served healthy options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between was something that didn’t exist in the area.
Jennifer Horev describes “We first created our mantra ‘Another day in paradise, where health is happiness’. We introduced new salads, all day breakfast, vegan and gluten-free options, bowls, sweet treats, and gave the brand a make over with a feminine touch.”
“We wanted to go one step further and make each store feel like an extension of our own home, bringing bright whites and natural elements that compliment the entire Pura Vida experience. […] Keep in mind, this was all done in stages over the next two years, growing and developing into the brand we are today.”
The menu is full of refreshingly simple recipes with healthy ingredients, served up as mouth-watering but unpretentious dishes. Some of their most popular plates are the Mango Salmon Bowl and The Perfect Egg Sandwich, both recipes created by Omer Horev.
Jennifer explains, “In all honesty, our recipes are not complicated. We pride ourselves on fresh, simple, local ingredients. Our dishes are created by us and influenced by friends and family. [Omer is] a true foodie and was lucky enough to be born and raised in Israel where the food scene is exceptional.”
Beyond delicious dishes and artful ambiance, Pura Vida stands out for working with natural and organic foods, as well as locally-sourced ingredients. Horev explains, “Since the day we opened our doors we have always supported local Miami-based vendors. We believe we are a stronger community when we collaborate.”
The focus on the community and local beach culture extends even further than shopping for ingredients, but collaborating with others. “We love introducing new products from local artists and believe a big part of our success is due to providing entrepreneurs a platform to introduce their products to the community,” Horev explains.
Pura Vida Miami partners with Nativo Acai, Cindy’s Cookies, Coconut Cartel, Raw Natural Elements, Pamela Wassabi, Zak the Baker, Sullivan Street Bakery, VonnaVegan, Eli Bakes, Sand Theory, Adashah, just to name a few. Horev adds, “Together we have grown and helped transform Miami into a community to health conscious individuals.”
The result is a thriving business with expanding horizons. Once they received the SoFi community approval they opened locations at the UM Campus (kosher-style), Edgewater, and most recently partnered with Equinox in all five of their Florida locations.
The next location will open in mid-August in Miami’s Design District. Horev explains, “We are opening the doors mid August and are very excited to serve this special community.” Adding “After that we have another exciting location we cannot wait to announce, hint hint we are heading north! That being said, this is hopefully just the beginning for us.”
For the locals on Miami Beach, and SoFi community who love the original location, the message is ‘don’t change a thing’ and Horev is quick to assure them. “Our success is thanks to our incredibly loyal team, guests, and SoFi residents, as they witnessed our transformation and believed in us; we are forever grateful for their love and support.”