If someone had told me that I would be raving about a smoothie place, there’s no way I would believe them. Let’s be honest: I’m an EATER. My spirit foods are pasta and seafood, and while I enjoy smoothies, I don’t go searching for them. Enter North Shore Juice: the newest installment to Surf City, owned by Taylor & Amber Maready of Ecological Marine Adventures (EMA), along with Daddy Mac’s owners’ Steven & Michael Pasquantonio. They are serving up made-to-order juices, smoothies, and smoothie bowls. You heard that right…nothing is pre-made and you can expect them to make whatever you order with meticulous care each time you walk up. I simply didn’t know what to expect when I tried the sunny spot on Friday, but I walked away knowing that all smoothie spots are not created equal.
Meet the owners of north shore juice
Upon walking up to their beachside, bank-turned-smoothie oasis, you might be greeted by Amber, who has a blinding smile and bubbly energy that is contagious. She and everyone else are ready to explain any question you might have regarding their eccentric menu. And they have all the knowledge, because when EMA’s building was condemned after Hurricane Florence, Taylor and Amber found themselves general managers of a remarkably successful restaurant at the Aqua Wellness Resort in Nicaragua, before returning to a new building in Surf City, spring of 2019.
While living in Nicaragua for those six months, the Maready’s learned the importance of using fresh, local food with in-season fruits and veggies. Taylor’s eyes light up when he talks about having had access to fresh fruits and ingredients via a local fruit lady who would come by their home every day. This has influenced their vision for North Shore Juice and the knowledge to make their own recipes and share this experience with us now in Surf City.
Being ocean lovers, Taylor & Amber know their duty is to protect and invest in conservation education efforts all over the world, which they do through their non-profit, Tides of Hope. If you’re familiar with EMA, you’ll know their hope is by teaching kids what’s in the ocean, they will understand why it’s so important to protect them.
Brothers Michael & Steven Pasquantonio were born into the restaurant business, and started working at their father’s fine dining restaurant, Water St. Exchange in Baltimore, Maryland, at the age of 9. Dressing up in bow ties and cumberbuns at age 14, Mike and Steve had a blast entertaining their patrons by making table-side caesar salads from scratch.
The Pasquantonio’s moved to the Topsail area in 1992 to start the Mainsail Restaurant in North Topsail Beach (which was unfortunately destroyed by Hurricane Fran in 1996). While North Shore Juice will be their family’s fifth food establishment, (currently they own Daddy Mac’s Beach Grill and Island Brothers Catering), they have slowed down a bit to spend more quality time with their families and have divested from their other interests. The brothers have been running Daddy Mac’s together since their father passed away in 2003.
Taylor Maready, amongst many others (for example both of Shaka Taco owners), worked for the Pasquantonio’s for many years. Mike & Steve have been able to mentor and help former employees create small businesses for themselves… “What we enjoy most about our experience down here has been the kids that have worked for us over the years. They were all great kids & have become even better adults & parents in their own right.”
Steve says their goal in partnering with the Maready’s was to establish a healthy spot for their daughters to work as they are nearing the age of 14 (these dads won’t let their kids work until that specific birthday)!
Waste Not, Want Not
They are the definition of conscious and eco-friendly. When Taylor talks to you about their vision it centers around being “ocean minded” because they are ocean lovers. Born and raised here, they have the desire to conserve and protect the very beach that their businesses surround. All the trash is run via compost, which means it goes back into the earth in only a week’s times, versus years in a landfill. When their trash enters into the compost pile, it will take 7-10 days and they have entrusted Wilmington Compost Company to carry this out. No plastics are used inside and I have devoured my pitaya and açaí bowls with a sugarcane spoon on both visits. Taylor’s passion is undeniable, as he exclaimed they “wanna be the example to everyone here.”
behold the smoothie bowl…
I had never tried a smoothie bowl before Friday. I didn’t understand them and I also didn’t think they made sense. What’s the point of putting a smoothie in a bowl? Doesn’t it taste the same, I thought. I just couldn’t get it…until I got it. On the current limited menu they have three choices: Acai, TI Bowl and Pitaya. I chose the pitaya bowl because it sounded delicious and I had never eaten it before. Pitaya is the fruit of several different cactus species indigenous to the Americas. In their bowl, it’s topped with bananas, pineapple, chia, kiwi, and granola and it’s phenomenal. My kids and I couldn’t scoop it up fast enough via our sugarcane spoons…it’s creamy and dreamy…not too sweet. The toppings pair so well with the creamy pitaya.
- Acai bowl– this bowl offers a sweeter taste than the pitaya and ties as my favorite! Topped with granola, chocolate chips, banana, peanut butter, and honey, it melts in your mouth and is peanut butter heaven. The dark chocolate chip squares are such a good bite
Here are my other favs…
- Golden sunshine smoothie-Have you tried golden milk? If so, and you love it like I do, then the GS smoothie is a treat because it features mango, banana, greek yogurt, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, and almond milk. Turmeric is the star of this heart-healthy drink which has a savory, spicy bite with a hint of sweet. It’s an acquired taste, try it out!
- Tiffany’s FAV is the Shipwreck! Spinach. pineapple, and mango are the simple trio that make this sweet treat stand out in her eyes and she wouldn’t stop raving about it when we visited!
- The Duck Dive Smoothie-Berries, bananas, spinach, PB, greek yogurt, and almond milk are the stars of this smoothie. My son tried it out today sans the peanut butter and LOVED it!
- Additional menu items include the peanut party wave smoothie (sweetened with dates, which I LOVE,) and FOUR different juices I am yet to try (menu pictured).
If you’re wondering about a kids menu, their Peanut Party Wave and bowls are very kid friendly for the moment! They do plan on having a kids menu, but they want that to be just as healthy and yummy as the rest of the menu, so it will come with time.
Since Amber plans to do everything as local and healthy as possible, they are taking things slowly and seeing what the needs of the community are.
Location & Contact: 204 Roland Ave, Surf City, NC 28445 / (910)-515-7701 / firstname.lastname@example.org
What is next at North Shore Juice?
Expect to see coffee added to the menu soon! Using Taylor’s connections in Nicaragua, North Shore Juice wants to work with a sustainable family farm to provide their coffee beans. The idea is to work directly with the farmer & skip over the wholesalers – so more money goes directly to the farmers.
“In the near future,” Steve says, “North Shore Juice will add more house creations to the menu while also offering a make your own juice & smoothie choice. Definitely a seasonal creation as well. Down the road we would like to offer some healthy quick eats like quinoa & kale salads, avocado toast, & other quick eats.”
Amber hopes to eventually add other easy healthy options to Topsail island; including wellness shots, along with a kids menu. Right now their goal is perfecting and providing healthy, nourishing ingredients via their refreshing menu and we couldn’t be happier here at RCI + Topsail. They make all their own recipes and if you call ahead, they will happily bring it out!