Juice bar

Mom & Daughter Juice Bar has opened next to Winn-Dixie at Tavernier Towne.

TAVERNIER — Nestled next to the Tavernier Towne Winn-Dixie, a new juice bar opened recently that will serve up a molasses-thick smoothie along with an assortment of salads, wraps and other health-conscious food items.

Mom & Daughter Juice Bar, owned by Martine Mandat and her family, is the business’ second location, after their first in Kendall. It’s operated by Mandat, her husband, a family friend and occasionally her three sons, ages 17, 16 and 11.

Patrons remarked “this is awesome” after tasting their order on a recent afternoon. It’s that kind of encouragement that Mandat enjoys about business in the Florida Keys.

“To come here is very welcoming by everyone in the community, it’s made me feel so good,” she said. “People down here, my God, they have so much love and encouragement”

The juice bar’s name, upon learning that Mandat actually doesn’t have a daughter, may perplex some at first. But as she explained, it’s an homage of sorts to the strong relationship Mandat had with her mother.

“My mother, she is (such a) powerful woman, very strong. She had 11 children and I’m number seven. I don’t even know how to describe her, that’s how strong she is,” Mandat said.

Mandat said her mother constantly pushed her to do more and encouraged her to live her life to the fullest.

At the moment, part of that family-oriented nature of the business is due to Mandat’s difficulties finding people to hire, a trend being observed nationwide in many retail and food service industries. Asked if she’d gotten any job applicants, she replied, “nothing.” Not even at the mainland location.

“We’re still hoping,” she said.

Apart from the hiring difficulties, and supply-chain issues with a small number of her products, business has been good so far. Mandat said her location has become a popular destination with Upper Keys students, who are particularly fond of the macaroni and cheese she makes, although it’s not a regular item on the menu.

“I have to make mac and cheese everyday now for a couple of them,” she said. “I mean, I feel good doing it because I love cooking, that’s my passion.”

Mom & Daughter is Mandat’s first time owning a business. Prior to that she was in management for 18 years at KFC, Pollo Tropical and some hotels.

When she got a job as a cook at Mariners Hospital, just a few hundred feet from her current location, she swore off management for good.

Upon a visit to Mom & Daughter, Mandat’s old coworkers come in to visit and eat and talk with her.

“It’s just my family here,” she remarked.