The ex-trainer turned entrepreneur poured his passion for a healthy lifestyle into a business plan and mixed it with a little musical inspiration to open the The Mad Beet last year in the heart of Pacific Beach.
A health conscious eatery that serves music-themed juices and smoothies, The Mad Beet has been so successful in its first year, which included a nod from Zagat, that it is moving in April from its 750-square-foot location on Cass Street to an 1,800-square-foot storefront at 933 Garnet Ave.
At the new location, just three blocks from the beach, Dunlap plans to expand his menu, offer more sit down dining and partner with local growers.
Dunlap, 32, and his business partner Guy Zigfrid got the idea to open their juice bar-restaurant when they stopped into a Mission Valley juice bar for a post-workout pick-me-up.
“We decided if they can do this, we can do it too.”
“The biggest challenge was going in blind,” said Dunlap, who outlined his ideas on a napkin and learned about starting a small business by reading the “The Dummies Series.”
Because he had no restaurant experience he brought in Windel Antiporta, who studied hospitality at The Art Institute of California – San Diego.
“We need a business like this in PB,” Dunlap said. “It’s not another hookah bar or fast food joint. We don’t want people to think of PB as just another place to snack, get drunk and go home. We now have a healthy option, and there’s a beach you can run on for days.”
The Mad Beet spins a bottomless menu of music-themed juices and smoothies (healthy sandwiches and salads are available too.) Favorite chart topers in the juices category include Green Latifah – spinach, cucumber, lime, kale, celery, ginger – and Taylor Swift – celery orange, grapefruit and pineapple.
On the smoothie side there’s Bohemian Rh’asperry and the Berry J. Blidge. Dunlap has his own favorite, it’s in the protein smoothie category – The Arctic Money, non-fat milk, non-fat yogurt, peanut butter, banana and chocolate whey protein. The Mad Beet also invites customers to “drop their own beat” and compose concoctions all their own.
“The Mad Beet is very sarcastic,” Dunlap said. “We like to spoof and parody artists to give us that edge. We’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re just putting a new spin on it.”
He likens the atmosphere at The Mad Beet to a barbershop where good-natured banter is on the menu daily.
Because Dunlap believes that the art of wellbeing starts with children, his business outreach has included tastings and events at local schools.
“The only way our business can survive is through young kids,” he said. “We can teach them how to eat right and be healthy.”
The Mad Beet
4508C Cass St.
Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
Delivery service available in the Pacific Beach area.
Contact: (619) 301-1082; www.themadbeetcom