Pineapple Express Cafe has only just opened its doors at Portside and already the queues of people clamouring for their acai bowls, smoothies and raw treats are out the door.
With the never-ending focus on the connection between food and fitness, it’s no surprise that there are more and more of these healthy food grab-and-go cafes popping up all over town.
What makes the Pineapple Express Cafe stand out from the rest are a handful of differences — Cocowhip, naked burgers and an obsession with pineapples.
What they are doing that stands alongside other quality health food focused establishments like Paw Paw Cafe and BSKT is offering a selection of mouthwateringly tasty but still nutritionally nourishing options including smoothies, juices, acai bowls and raw sweets. By the time you read this, they’ll also be open for lunch, serving up their signature naked burgers.
The team behind Pineapple Express Cafe is larger than you might expect, with five directors all sharing equal responsibility and input. Is this a case of too many chiefs? You might think so, but luckily the lads are all friends who share the same goal — to be able to eat healthy and delicious food in very close proximity to their homes.
The directors — Leigh Metzeling, Chris Weight, Jonathan Ford, Tom Sweep and Jaxon Manuel — hit upon the idea for this cafe after struggling to find anywhere local that satisfied their particular approach to eating out.
Leigh Metzeling, who is there on the morning I pop in, explains: “We just couldn’t find any healthy options to eat out near where we all live. I live at Albion and some of the other boys live in New Farm, so when we meet up we like to keep it local.”
The actual menu was designed with the help of both a nutritionist and dietitian and the creation of the final version involved copious amounts of time spent researching and collating information. “We became involved in communities of like-minded people to find out what was out there and what we could offer,” Leigh says. “We had the idea for about a year before it was finally realised.”
This healthy ethos is carried throughout the cafe, with their description of their approach even used as an interior styling touch. ‘Good For Your Insides’ is proudly spelled out on the light box near the counter.
The most popular items on the menu are currently the Express breakfast, the Acai Nutter Bowl and the Charlie Brown Smoothie. But peruse the menu and you’ll probably want to order one of everything as it all sounds divinely delicious.
When I ask what makes Pineapple Express Cafe different to other smoothie joints, Leigh pauses before replying: “I think it’s our branding, the persona we’ve created here. It’s fun and efficient in here and we serve good food.
“And we offer Cocowhip, which is only available at two other places in Queensland, and the stuff is incredible. it’s vegan, coconut ice cream with no added nasties.”
Got a serious sweet tooth? Then check out the refrigerated cabinet at the front of the cafe. It’s filled with raw and baked clean treats from local foodie Paris Strauss of My Plate fame.
Pineapple Express opens at 5.30am, which means you can swing by on your way to work to pick up brekkie and a healthy lunch, or stop in and have a quiet reflective coffee to start your day in the right frame of mind. But if you leave without ordering an acai bowl or taking a raw treat away with you, you cannot call yourself a food lover.
Pineapple Express Cafe is open seven days a week and can be found at Portside Wharf, Hamilton (opposite Ginga Sushi). Look out for the bright yellow surfboard! Make sure you click through the gallery above to see all of our photos!
Have you become an acai-bowl addict yet? If yes, where is your favourite place to indulge? Let us know in the comments below.