Editor’s Note: We spoke with Jim Glenn the owner of Mission Organic Café located at 231 Miami Avenue W. on Venice Island. Jim and his partner Keith Meyer purchased the former Island Organics and are busy rebranding and enhancing their organic café and superfood and juice bar. Call 941-484-3565. Visit MissionOrganic.biz.
Jim, what inspired you to purchase your café, and what can you share about the transition? Several events the past few years played a key role in my decision. In 2019, I got very sick and had to focus a significant amount of time and energy on my recovery. Learning more about the importance of healthy food has been a game changer for me in terms of my overall health and outlook on life. This café and my partnership with Keith, a very talented chef, is the start of bringing some of this knowledge and this opportunity to heal from our American way of life to more people. The transition from the old Island Organics to our new business has been very challenging. We lost our roof with Ian, and it’s taken months to rebuild. We are on the right track and exploring expansion opportunities.
What are some of the food and beverage items now available for breakfast and lunch? We serve breakfast and lunch, along with making a lot of healthy smoothies and superfood bowls. We purchase all organic ingredients and make everything from scratch. We also do our best to accommodate special requests. We also serve organic coffee and beverages. Our certified organic products have more nutrients and taste better because they haven’t been genetically altered by pesticides and herbicides.
We have a complete menu of healthy food items for breakfast (served until 11:30am) and lunch. Our menu is on our website. We prepare tasty breakfast sandwiches and burritos. Another popular item is our breakfast protein bowl with eggs and sausage on a bed of spinach, other greens and quinoa. This combination of eggs and greens has become our most popular breakfast item. Our salads are the most popular item for lunch. Customers also enjoy the option of adding our homemade chicken salad or organic chicken with their salad.
We also serve organic, grass fed Boar’s Head roast beef, ham and turkey on our sandwiches and everyone loves our traditional turkey club and our BLAT Sandwich (A for avocado). Our Superfood Bowls are nutrient dense with the addition of fruit. Organic whole foods is a natural form of preventative medicine and a smart investment in better health.
What are some of your plans for enhancing Mission Organic Cafe? We had our first community event with the Island Bookshop in late March featuring a best-selling author. We’ll feature more events in the future to promote our community and the potential of healthy living. Hosting select events is another way to live our mission of helping people live happier and healthier lives. We’re also planning to expand with more locations in the region. That’s an opportunity to bring more healthy food to locals and visitors, featuring some of the recipes we’re developing at Mission Organic Café. We’ve already started preparing all of our baked goods in house using only organic ingredients with many gluten-free and vegan options. Our cold pressed juice capability is back on track following damage from the hurricane.
What’s your background and ditto with your business partner Keith? My background includes 25 years in manufacturing, a short stint as a lawyer and military service. The most important part of my background has been my recovery from various illnesses in the past four years. My partner, Keith Meyer, started his career in the financial sector, and he’s now following his calling to create great food. Keith studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York, worked at several award-winning restaurants in Manhattan. He also owns F.M. Don’s in Punta Gorda.
How have customers on and off the island responded to the various changes? Meeting so many great people in our community has been the best part of our journey so far. The feedback about our new menu, name and mission has been very positive. We kept some of the favorite items from the old Island Organics, and some of our long term customers appreciate the continuity.