By: Alexa Shabinsky By: Alexa Shabinsky | January 26, 2022 | Food & Drink
Hailing from the west coast, SunLife Organics has officially touched down in the Sunshine State. The cult-favorite health-centric smoothie, juice and bowl restaurant is the perfect fit for Miami’s beautiful weather and athletic culture.
Founder Khalil Rafati and business partner Hayley Gorcey opened the doors to their first SunLife Organics location in 2011 in Malibu, California. Since then, the brand has expanded across Los Angeles and newly opened in both Miami and Austin. They opened their first location with a mission to love, heal and inspire; similarly to how Rafati got himself into the industry in the first place. As a former drug addict, Rafati was introduced into the world of juicing and superfoods by a friend, to help implement a health focussed lifestyle.
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Expanding to Miami, an untouched market was an interesting experience for Rafati, who had only been to cities on the other Florida coast before. “I didn't know anything about Miami, Coconut Grove or South Beach. I didn't know anything about it. I literally had probably one thousand people ask me, please open up Miami, please open up in Miami,” said Rafati. After listening to the crowds, he decided to make a trip down to the Magic City to see what everyone was talking about.
Rafati laughed as he said, “It got to the point where so many people asked me, so I said okay, I've got to go figure out what's going on down there. And it was just one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had.” He was enamored with the lifestyle in Miami, from how healthy everyone was and wanted to be, something he had never experienced before. Very quickly Rafati realized that Miami was the perfect fit for SunLife Organics.
Being the sole retailer in the building right now due to construction, the team decided on a soft launch for the storefront in late October, but that did not stop customers. With a few months under their belt, Rafati could not be more proud of the Miami team, “We’ve been doing amazing numbers every day, people are so supportive. So it turned out to be exactly what my gut instinct told me it was going to be, it's incredible!”
Aside from all the delicious made-to-order dishes at SunLife, they also serve as a carefully curated health and wellness store, featuring some of the most coveted brands from all around the world. “I created SunLife because I wanted a place where I could go and know that every single ingredient wasn't just organic, but was beyond organic, like the greatest stuff on the planet. And that's what I did,” he explained. From traveling to Peru to find the best maca and Japan to find the best matcha, Rafiti did not let one detail from what the store's offerings go out of sight.
While Rafati is the founder of SunLife Organics, his favorite part is being a customer, “My favorite part of what I get to do, honestly, is being a customer. I love walking in, I go in seven days a week, and I get a Billion Dollar Bowl, a Samurai Bowl or I get a Buddha Bowl, and I sit down, I eat it, I just look, I smile and I thank God.”
SunLife Organics has already fit into the Miami Beach community seamlessly, which hopefully means that this is just the start of their Miami footprint.
Photography by: Courtesy Douglas Bagg