Just one month in, and The Back Alley Café is already surpassing all expectations of co-owner Guadalupe Arreguin.
“I thought maybe if we sell five juices a day we’d be good since this is new for Sequim,” she said.
“I’m surprised by the turnout.”
Arreguin’s juices, smoothies and health-conscious food items have become a hit with locals and visitors alike, Arreguin family members said, as they continue to see a steady flow of customers at the café.
The new eatery, run by Guadalupe, her husband Sergio and two children Nathalie and Sergio “Alex” sits in a remodeled space in downtown Sequim’s Seal Street right off Washington Street.
“The menu started small and little by little we’re adding and still making changes,” Guadalupe said.
The idea for a café started with her 16 years ago right after she had her son and she noticed she was having health issues. Guadalupe said nutrition wasn’t on her mind then, as she ate conventional and processed meals. She soon began exploring her food intake with dietitians and naturopathic doctors.
“I started feeling better and started studying and became a certified health coach,” she said.
At the core of her clients’ issues, Guadalupe said, was that people were busy and choosing quick options rather than the healthiest.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arreguins started exploring a health-focused café via a food truck. They learned that a space now owned by Calvary Chapel Sequim, the family’s home church, was available, so that led them to rent.
Guadalupe said she feels they add another ingredient to the downtown core of restaurants with a health focus.
“We’re here to help,” she said. “We also want to build relationships and be a part of the community.”
Juices and smoothies are a core part of the business along with parfaits, and smoothie bowls.
Guadalupe said she’s made juices for a long time at home and with the cafe’s she strives to be creative.
“I have a passion to make healthy meals that taste good,” she said.
Some of the six core smoothies include Peanut Butter Banana, Cacao Acai Delight and Dragon Berry, which consists of dragon fruit, banana, raspberries, Goji berries, orange juice and coconut milk.
There are four core juices and four smoothie bowls offered, too, with offerings such as the “Juice Master” with spinach, celery, kale, cucumber, lemon, apple, parsley and ginger.
Nathalie, a Sequim High graduate, said smoothie bowls are like ice cream with more fruit base and less liquid and can be topped off with fruit and granola.
No milk is put in any of the juices or smoothies, and they are adding new types of juices and smoothies often for specials, she said.
“I found out I was allergic to gluten, and I’m also dairy free, so I couldn’t eat the same foods I loved,” Nathalie said.
“Me working with mom helped me discover that (health-focused) path.”
Everything is made fresh the day it’s served, from the beans to the chickens, Guadalupe said.
Breakfast is offered from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. with items, such as a Turkey Egg Sandwich with pastured eggs, turkey sausage, Havarti and tomato, all served on non-GMO sourdough bread.
They also offer gluten-free pancakes.
Meats used are all hormone free, and gluten-free items are offered and of high quality, Guadalupe said, as she finds many gluten-free items have cheaper ingredients.
“Most of the menu is changeable,” Guadalupe said.
Vegetarian and vegan options are available with 20 percent off items to be made without meat, eggs, etc.
“You shouldn’t have to pay for something you won’t eat,” Nathalie said.
Lunch items include quesadillas, sandwiches, wraps and paninis.
Nathalie said she loves the Chipotle Avocado Grilled Sandwich made of antibiotic-free chicken, jack cheese, red peppers, onion, avocado and house chipotle on sourdough.
Guadalupe said she likes the Chicken Pesto Wrap made with chicken, tomato, Havarti cheese, pesto, onion, spinach and house dressing on a non-GMO wheat tortilla.
The mother and daughter said they wish more people would try their soups-of-the-day and the new Chicken Burrito Bowl, too.
For one day, the family offered a salad bar for people to make their own sandwiches and salads, but the Arreguins said they observed people were combining things they might like individually but probably not together.
“We wanted to make sure it tasted good on our taste buds,” Guadalupe said.
“We love our food and we prepare it with love. I want people to feel comfortable with their food and know we’re not just preparing food to make money.”
For more about The Back Alley Café, visit thebackalleycafe.com or call 562-983-6236.
The Back Alley Café
What: Health-focused café and juice bar
Where: 138 W. Washington St.
Hours/days: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday