Edible Monterey Bay

“Gut-Friendly” Shop Opening in Santa Cruz

January 16, 2018 – An exciting new food shop dedicated to gut health is taking shape on Locust Street in Santa Cruz. “We may be the most gut-friendly store on the planet,” says owner Mark Kaltenbacher, who also owns Central Coast Juicery in Pacific Grove.

The as-yet-unnamed shop at 111 Locust St. has just received Health Department certification for its all-raw, organic kitchen and is opening sporadically and training staff as it begins stocking shelves with foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics. 

Once it fully opens in mid-February, the shop will stock grab and go items that promote gut health, such as yogurts, vegan pizzas, falafels, veggie burgers, meal bars and salads with prebiotic dressings and kraut crackers, as well as organic cold-pressed juices and smoothies. 

Suppliers include New Earth Superfoods, a San Luis Obispo company that makes coconut-based probiotic yogurts; Living Cultures of Santa Cruz; and Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove.

“The more research I do, the more I realize that the solution to all our health problems is right under our noses and has to do with a healthy gut microbiota,” says Kaltenbacher. 

The small shop will also have a learning corner called Food for Thought, where customers can read the latest scientific studies on gut health.

At the Pacific Grove shop, nutritious cold-pressed juices are made using produce from 20 local farms including Lakeside Organics, New Natives, Prevedelli, Lonely Mountains and Oya Organics in Hollister—where they compost pulp left over after the juice is pressed.

Kaltenbacher started out making juices overnight using Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove, and he sold out of there for two years before moving into his own shop on Forest Avenue, just off Lighthouse.

But the UC Santa Cruz grad says he always loved Santa Cruz and has been looking for a reason to move back.