The Kula Cafe Returns!

January 24, 2022 1:40 pm

Until March of 2020, the beloved Kula Café, situated in Interfaith Neighbors’ Springwood Center had become a commercial mainstay in Asbury Park’s developing, west side, Springwood Avenue corridor.

“Kula Café operated for seven years on the west side of Asbury Park as a vibrant community café and hospitality training facility for the area’s youth,” said Interfaith Neighbors Executive Director Paul McEvily. “Unfortunately, the pandemic made it impossible for operations to be continued once the pandemic hit the area in March of 2020.”

Last Monday, on the nationally observed holiday that honors Dr. Martin Luther King’s achievements, MacroBites, the current tenant at the Kula Cafe site, celebrated its one-year anniversary on Springwood Avenue by reopening Kula Café.

Like no other civil rights leader in our nation’s history, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr has had a profound and motivational effect on the three local entrepreneurs who own and operate MacroBites in this Jersey Shore community of Asbury Park. The three men are childhood friends David Lewis, Jarrette Atkins and Fritz Georges, owners of MacroBites, a health-conscious ready to eat meal company located in the heart of Asbury Park’s southwest community at 1201 Springwood Ave.

“Reverend King’s a symbol of hope,” Lewis said of their intentional nods to King. “His message mobilized so many because it was based on change and equality. Although we’ve been through all these adverse things in America, we can make positive changes. We want to show our community and its youth that even if you’ve made mistakes, it’s not too late to turn your life around. Our work underscores the fact that no one should be defined by their mistakes; it’s how you move after those mistakes that defines your character.”

“We’re trying to inspire others to prosper and to go above and beyond their dreams through our work at the Café and MacroBites,” said MacroBites co-owner Fritz Georges. “We want to re-enforce an edict that the sky isn’t always the limit.”

“During the pandemic, we began to receive inquiries from those who had regularly supported the Kula Café mission about its reopening,” said IFN Associate Executive Director Chip Craig. “Having seen the Café become a regular spot for community engagement during our seven years of operation, we knew we’d ultimately want to reopen as a table-service café.  Having the MacroBites team, with their community minded spirit, willing to work with us to execute the reopening, it paved the path for this exciting development.”

On the menu are some of those familiar Kula Café items, such as the popular Blue Bishop and Griffins burgers, Apple Walnut and Kula Cobb salads, as well as those kid friendly meals. Also featured are the popular health-conscious items from MacroBites meal plans, such as the favored Hawaiian Wrap, Lemon Zest Tofu, New Orleans Strip Steak, and Southwest Shrimp.

“Having been in the Asbury Park community for the past year with our MacroBites market, we’re excited to expand our community engagement with the re-opening of the Kula Café,” Lewis said. “We have made a point to become extremely active in our Asbury Park community, giving away free meals every day to those in need, organizing free community events, and working with the Prosper Foundation to provide services for our youth. For the seven years Kula was open prior the pandemic, Interfaith Neighbors had established the cafe as a local favorite for both healthy and traditional breakfast and lunch options, as well as a meaningful training site for local youth. We intend to carry forward with those traditions, while maintaining our reputation of being leaders in the community.”

MacroBites at Kula Café is open 8:30 am to 6 pm Monday thru Saturday. The 30-seat eatery is following pandemic guidelines, continuing its grab-and-go and meal delivery program.

The trio say they are excited to add the hospitality training program to their menu.  “Every meal purchased enables MacroBites to continue their program of donating meals back to the community.”

“We all have a responsibility to learn, grow, teach, repeat,” MacroBites Co-owner Jarrette Atkins said. “We’re just applying that lesson as we continue to grow and learn.”

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