Natural juice bar ‘delights’ locals

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It is not just overcoming or managing where to advertise or overseeing day-to-day operations for some entrepreneurs.  For Olandra Ruiz, Sonia Gutierrez and family, it is also overcoming a family history that includes their brother’s murder, homelessness, and more. These entrepreneurs, Ruiz and Gutierrez, opened Natural Delights Juice Bar in La Mesa in the Rancho San Diego Village in November 2016.

It is not just overcoming or managing where to advertise or overseeing day-to-day operations for some entrepreneurs.  For Olandra Ruiz, Sonia Gutierrez and family, it is also overcoming a family history that includes their brother’s murder, homelessness, and more. These entrepreneurs, Ruiz and Gutierrez, opened Natural Delights Juice Bar in La Mesa in the Rancho San Diego Village in November 2016.

Residents of East County might remember reading about the murder of Eufracio Alberto Enriquez and the court trial that put his killer behind bars. East County Californian reporter, Neal Putnam, noted in his September 7, 2016 column that the killer was sentenced to 72 years to life in state prison. 

“My sister, Marisela, heard the gunshots,” said Ruiz. “He was shot in the head.”

Marisela Enriquez raised the family of seven, said Ruiz, including taking care of her deceased brother when he was younger after their mother passed. The murder happened in El Cajon. Their father, 85-year-old Eufracio Enriquez, lives in Tecate, Mexico.

“We grew up poor,” said Ruiz. “I use to live on the streets. I knew at that age that it was only temporary. I am very driven. I work very hard.” 

The siblings lived in Tecate, Mexico for a short time but grew up in East County. Ruiz is a graduate of El Cajon Valley High School. 

Ruiz and Gutierrez opened Natural Delights Juice Bar. Gutierrez had already started her own painting and cleaning business, Spotless, and Ruiz also works as a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in La Mesa.

“I always wanted to have health-on-the-go,” said Ruiz.  She, Gutierrez, and a family friend, Bernardo Olivares, scouted locations for their juice bar.  Olivares, according to Ruiz, is battling stage four cancer. Ruiz, besides all the businesses, also takes care of her brother with schizophrenia, Juan.

Ruiz noted that their menu is mostly vegetarian and natural. Juan Ruiz, known as “Mr. G,”   makes their own sauces and oversees the cooking and mixing along with Bryant Adams.  Gutierrez’s daughter, Esmeralda, works in the juice bar as well as other family members.  

The menu also includes Mexican delights such as fresas con crema, chamangos, tostilocos, and corn cup.  Additionally, they offer salads, paninis, acai bowls, and juice mixes such as Green #1: kale, parsley, cilantro, basil, pineapple and apple. They also offer smoothies, more juice mixes and wellness shots like brain boost which has beets and celery. 

“We have organic acai,” said Ruiz. “The bread is gluten-free. We are open 7 days a week.”

Since January 2018 they have 76-five star ratings from Yelp out of a total of 83 reviews.  The lowest score is a 3 star. They also offer delivery via Doordash.

“The acai bowls are number one,” said Ruiz.  Juices, such as beet, carrot, and orange, are natural. They offer a discount to people in uniform. “Food can heal you, or kill you,” she exclaimed. 

For Ruiz, food had been a milestone, and her story is finally coming full-circle.

“We’re thinking big,” Ruiz said. “Our plan is to have one (juice bar) for each of our sisters. We were in a foster home.  We didn’t always have food.  Now we own a business that has healthy food.” 

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