If you’ve stepped into Joy’s Place Live in Pukalani, chances are you were met by the smiling faces of either Joy White or Tyua Sereda, working hard as they prepared ingredients behind the counter. A very small pick-up shop that originated as a production kitchen, Joy’s Place Live has become an island favorite for its simple and genuine approach to healthy eating.
“The bottom line is that we always wanted to create an alternative for people,” said Tyua. “There’s a lot of great food out here on Maui! But not all of it is healthy. Healthy food is the basis of a healthy lifestyle, and we want to provide food for people trying to eat cleaner. Organic ingredients, nothing real complicated or fancy, just real food! We felt that people wanted that. We wanted that. And we wanted to find something that felt close to what we would make at home.”
Tyua has been working with Joy since the early 1990s, when the duo bonded over their passion for food. Back then the two made sandwiches and wraps, but in 2001 Tyua attended culinary school. Tyua returned to Maui as the principal recipe writer for Joy’s Place Live and the team now offers an array of raw and vegan items.
“We don’t think of ourselves as a restaurant,” Tyua said. “Our tag line is Healthy Take Home, and what we produce is more for people on the go.”
Joy’s Place Live still offers salads and sandwiches, but the shop believes the real value of their brand comes from the items the customers can use at home. They encourage newcomers to talk with the staff, learn about these ingredients, stock their fridges and create recipes for themselves, using the bases they find at the shop.
The raw chili at Joy’s Place live is a good example. Tyua describes buying the chili, then going to a farmers market to grab fresh vegetables, cheese, sour cream or whatever you desire and then taking it home and adding it all to the chili to make it your own.
Tyua and Joy try hard to accommodate customer requests, creating items that are in high demand depending on the time of the year or the products available. With Thanksgiving coming up soon, the shop will be offering seasonal treats like homemade gravies, cranberries, raw vegan pies and even a lilikoi coconut pudding. The kitchen also has a rotating soup menu that changes every week.
“Our prices are maybe a little higher than people are used to seeing in the grocery store,” said Tyua. “But what people don’t realize is that the quality is extremely high. We do basically everything by hand in small batches. Nothing pre- processed or pre- packaged. It’s always fresh.”
For the almond shakes, which are very popular item, the team soaks the almonds themselves, blends them and adds raw cacao, vanilla beans and high quality sweeteners.
“There’s no comparison from fresh almond juice to what you might buy in a store,” said Tyua. “It’s a completely different product.”
Having tried one of the cacao almond shakes, I can vouch for the unmatched taste. You can also taste the freshness in other, more standard Joy’s items like chicken Caesar salads.
The shop also offers home remedies for sickness, including three-day cleanses.
“The Cold and Flu Bone Broth and Maui Cold Buster are two wellness products that people have really been going for lately,” Tyua said. “Regardless of if they’re under the weather, it offers something healing to keep you on track.”
Bone broths have been used for generations and Joy’s Place Live adds their homemade touch to it by brewing the bones with fresh onions, turmeric, citruses and ginger. They also offer tonics fermented with immunity-boosting foods and apple cider vinegar.
“The cleanses came into play when Joy and I realized some of the products we were already producing could be cleanse products,” said Tyua. “We were both interested in [the process] and thought it would be fun to design and make a cleanse the way we would like it.”
The cleanse is $159 and provides you with a powerful green juice, miso soups, almond shakes, kombuchas, and turmeric tonics. Single-day cleanses are also available as well as extended programs.
“We have always believed that the foundation of good health is food that has been simply prepared from wholesome ingredients,” said Tyua. “Everything we make is thoughtfully prepared with love.”
JOY’S PLACE LIVE!
81 Makawao Ave., Pukalani
Photos: Sean M. Hower