Abel Martinez, Owner of Santa Fe Juice Bar
Owner of Santa Fe Juice Bar
Surfing, biking, snowboarding
Guadalajara & Sayulita, Mexico
Where are you from and how did you decide to live in Santa Fe?
I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, but spent my adolescence and early 20s in a small beach town called Sayulita, Mexico. I never had a plan to move to Santa Fe, but my now-wife is from here, and after visiting, we realized it was a good fit.
Did you always know you wanted to work in the food/restaurant industry?
I always wanted to be an artist, but began working in restaurants and realized that food and cuisine are their own artistic expression.
What is your personal background, and what was your professional journey to get to where you are today?
After working for many years with my mentor in Sayulita, Mexico, at one of the best restaurants in town, I moved to the US and tried a few gigs. I then moved to Tennessee with my wife and started working with Chef Jonathon Waxman at Adele’s Nashville, which gave me a better understanding of the restaurant scene in the States. Very quickly, I was promoted to manager position where I learned more about day-to-day business operations. I helped open Bajo Sexto Nashville, a Mexican restaurant located in the Country Music Hall of Fame. After a couple years in Nashville, we moved back to Santa Fe, and I was inspired to open the Santa Fe Juice Bar and bring the Sayulita vibes to the high desert.
How did you come up with the idea of Santa Fe Juice Bar?
My mother-in-law was always pushing me to open my own food truck, but I had no idea it’d be a juice bar. My inspiration came from fruit stands in Mexico, and how easy it is to grab a healthy juice or fruit bowl on every corner. Given the lack of quick fresh options in Santa Fe, I decided to open Santa Fe Juice Bar.
What aspect of Santa Fe Juice Bar are you most proud of?
We’re proud to bring a different, healthy, option to Santa Fe in an easy-going environment. Everything is made from scratch and created on the spot. My hope is that people can feel like they are sipping a smoothie on the beach.
How did you decide on the location for SF Juice Bar?
There was never a plan to be at our current location, but in this business, you have to go with the flow. In the end, that’s kind of the magic of a food truck – you’re never attached to one location and have to adapt to wherever the wind takes you.
What's the story behind the trailer?
The trailer is a 1976 El Rancho. The original owner wanted to create an empanada business In ABQ, but the plan fell through. I bought the trailer on Craigslist as a work-in-progress and built it out to be the Juice Bar it is today.
What's your favorite thing about what you do?
I love meeting new young people because they are always so hard to find in Santa Fe. It’s been fun to make new friends and build relationships with other young entrepreneurs.
What's the most challenging thing about your work?
It’s been challenging for us to be an eco-friendly business and explain to our customers our mission to have zero waste. It’s difficult both on the business and consumer end, but we’re working together every day, and we know the struggle is well worth it.
What is the best entrepreneurship advice you've ever received?
What makes Santa Fe special to you? What are your favorite things about this place?
The snow, mountains, fresh air, and all the outdoor hidden gems make Santa Fe special to me.
What would you change about Santa Fe if you could?
I’d love to see more young energy, as well as older folks helping to facilitate the path for young entrepreneurs.
What are you passionate about outside of running Santa Fe Juice Bar?
I’m passionate about being active outside. I grew up surfing, so I love being out in the sun. I like mountain biking, running, backpacking, snowboarding – basically anything to do with playing outdoors.