When Soleyah Brittian opened the doors of Hapisoul Cafe and Juicery on September 13 at 118 NW Second St. in Abilene — the former location of Ortus Cafe — it was after years of dreaming.
“It’s been a dream of mine – a vision of mine – for a very long time,” she said.
Brittain started working towards his goal in early 2022.
She wanted to open a cafe with juice and healthy food for years and now she finally achieved her goal.
Brittian started eating healthy in earnest after her mother was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008.
Brittian moved to Abilene from Chicago where she worked at a juice bar/health food restaurant to help her mother through her chemotherapy treatments and provide support and care.
“Seeing her in a hospital bed hooked up to tubes really affected me,” Brittian said. “I’ve always (been) – ever since I was little – an overweight little girl. And I had to learn to eat healthy and exercise. So I went on this journey for a long time, but seeing the effects of cancer was an eye opener.
The experience with her mother made Brittian more aware of her own health, and her work in Chicago made her aware of the potential health benefits of juices.
Abilene didn’t have anything like the spinner she left in Chicago, so Brittian ended up buying her own spinner.
But she stayed in Abilene because, even though it wasn’t at all like her old town, she had bonded so well with the people during her time here. She had worked at a donut shop and the Kirby House restaurant and had become extremely close to colleagues and friends she had made through those jobs.
“Before I knew it, I had created a small family, so I was staying and wanted to be close to my mother,” she said.
His mother recovered and has been in remission for about a decade.
These days, even before opening her restaurant, Brittian has been juicing for herself and her yogis at Hapisoul Yoga and Wellness, her Abilene-based yoga studio.
“They love it and I’ve wanted to do this for a really long time,” she said. “I saw the opportunity when it came to space and I could make it happen.”
Due to her own experience with cancer, she hopes to encourage healthy eating habits that could prevent cancer from developing. While caring for her mother, Brittian researched foods that could prevent cancer – as well as foods that could cause cancer to form, information she used when developing her menu.
“What we eat is important,” she said. “I definitely do it in a way that provides health benefits.”
Food, she said, can have a major impact on health, energy levels, digestion and how people feel day to day.
“Basically, I think of food as something that feeds cancer or feeds you healthy,” Brittian said.
Specific foods she recommends that provide antioxidants include green vegetables such as spinach and green tea.
She thinks juices can help people make better nutritional choices.
“If you think about most people, they don’t want to eat a plate of vegetables or people don’t like the texture of fruit,” Brittian said. “People basically don’t like to eat fruits and vegetables. Some people do – it’s great. And so we will offer (fresh fruits and vegetables) of course.
The juice, on the other hand, provides the nutrients without someone having to eat an entire plateful of beets, carrots, pineapple, citrus, and parsley – the contents of Hapisoul beet juice.
“You wouldn’t normally eat a plate of that, would you?” said Brittian. “But I juice it, it extracts the pulp, it retains all the nutrients – which when you drink it as a juice, your body can absorb it more easily because you don’t have the digestion function to digest everything. this then this goes straight into your system.
This is a good way to convince children to also eat fruits and vegetables.
Now that her business is open, Brittian hopes to provide another option for people who want to eat in Abilene but also want to stay health-conscious and provide a local food source.
“I bought everything nearby,” she said. “I want to have as much local and freshly grown produce as possible.”
So some of the food she sells will be grown locally. Brittian is a board member of Cedar House and plans to purchase some of her produce from Cedar House founder Patti O’Malley, who as part of her women’s drug addiction program operates the greenhouse, a farm and a high culinary tunnel. , among others.
The Hapisoul Cafe and Juicery menu will include freshly squeezed juices, protein shakes, smoothies, sandwiches, salads and soups. The restaurant will serve gluten-free options, vegetarian options and vegan options for those who wish. There will be a rotating seasonal menu featuring all-natural, health-conscious foods.
“You’ll feel better after eating it, not worse,” Brittian said. “I just want to bring this offer to the community.”
Brittian said she has the support of many in the community.
“I think — I know — the community will appreciate that,” she said.
She knows it won’t be easy, but feels ready for any challenge and looks forward to sharing her dream – and nutrition information that she says may not be widely available – with the community.
“I find it beneficial to eat healthy – to eat healthy,” she said. “My saying is ‘you eat better, you feel better.’ So what we put into our bodies is important and I can’t wait to share it. But so far what I’ve been able to share through my yoga business has been very helpful to these people. And now, I can serve more people and children.
She knows what she’s offering won’t be for everyone, but she thinks enough people will be interested to keep her going.
“In a small community, I feel like word spreads pretty quickly, so I know I have to get it right the first time,” Brittian said. “Because you only have one chance to impress people. So that’s my plan.
For now, the restaurant will be open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, although she may extend those hours at a later date.