Although Maka Eatery isn’t much bigger than a large food court stall, the new smoothie bar, lunch counter, and caterer serves a wide range of lunch offerings.
Located in the lobby of the Don Wheaton YMCA, the downtown addition differentiates itself with a variety of vegan options. Green smoothies, acai parfaits, raw granola bites and ‘bowls’—a trend that has been slow to take hold in Edmonton—are just some of the homey, from-scratch edibles available.
“We eat this way at home,” says.Stephanie Paras, the co-owner.
Paras studied baking and pastry arts in the Philippines, while her partner Himanshu Motwani graduated from NAIT’s culinary arts program.
The couple met at a camp kitchen in Northern Alberta. After moving back to the city, Paras managed a juice bar in another gym, but catering to the body builder demographic was frustrating. Both she and Motwani thought Edmonton needed a more creative, balanced, and wholistic approach to eating.
Their chance came abruptly when space opened up at the YMCA.
“We got the keys three days before opening,” Motwani says, laughing. The pair worked frantically to stock the kitchen, paint the service area, and hang menu boards.
Motwani says the reception has been good so far, but he hopes more customers will venture in off the street when they realize a YMCA membership isn’t required to enter the building.