Life Alive will open a Jamaica Plain location this summer

Sign up for The Dish Stay up to date on the latest food and drink news from At one longtime bar location in Jamaica Plain, it’s out with cocktails and craft beer, and in with superfood lattes and wellness shots. Life Alive Organic Cafe will open its 11th location in the Boston neighborhood this summer, confirms CEO Bryan Timko, in a standalone restaurant space at the corner of South Huntington Avenue and Moraine Street that’s been a bar since Prohibition ended. Most recently Canary Square, the bar shuttered in November 2022. In early 2023, Canary Square’s owner sold his liquor license to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in the Seaport for $500,000, state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission records show. The company wants visitors to feel as comfortable at Life Alive as they would at any neighborhood spot, Timko says, which is why the former bar and restaurant space was particularly appealing. While all Life Alive locations offer fast-casual counter service, online and app ordering, takeout, and delivery, “we’re committed to recreating the gathering place,” the CEO says. To that end, the Jamaica Plain cafe will have wifi and bountiful electrical outlets. “We spend a lot of time and money on designing comfortable seating and a space that you want to stay, work or have a meeting at, or have dinner with your friends.” The company’s go-to construction partner, Cornerstone Design/Build Services, is renovating the space now, with plans in the works for “its own unique color scheme,” Timko shares. The new, 75-seat restaurant will retain the former bar’s reclaimed, hardwood flooring; as well as the large windows and garage doors that open onto the South Huntington Avenue-facing patio. Life Alive will use the same patio footprint as the former location, on both the Moraine Street side and South Huntington, “with a Life Alive upgrade of colorful benches and lush greenery. “We love using color because the food’s colorful, and the natural world is colorful,” Timko says. Life Alive touts a scratch kitchen at all locations, and what Timko calls “positive eating.” That means healthy, “invigorating food that tastes as great as it makes you feel.” The mainly vegan menu spans breakfast through dinner, with fresh, seasonal vegetables and homemade sauces accessorizing grain bowls, noodles, soups, wraps, and small plates like avocado toast or edamame. It also offers fruity açaí bowls, smoothies, and salads, which will become more of a focus this spring after a company-wide menu relaunch. (Timko says fans of the peanut butter-banana Elvis smoothie need not worry; it’s not going anywhere.) Morning-exclusive breakfast items like sweet potato-quinoa hash topped with salsa verde and a sunny egg; and gluten-free blueberry superfood waffles made with hemp and bee pollen will be available in JP, along with the brand’s full range of dairy-free iced and hot lattes, brewed Intelligentsia Coffee, vegan-friendly fruit smoothies, shots of fresh-pressed ginger, turmeric or wheatgrass; spicy ginger kombucha, and more. Life Alive expressed interest in a Jamaica Plain location as far back as 2015, which is the year that Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich purchased the company. At that time, Life Alive had three locations in Lowell, Cambridge, and Salem. The company has since added outposts in Brookline, Back Bay, Somerville, at two additional Cambridge addresses, and in the South End and Dedham. JP will be the first of three new locations planned for 2024, Timko says, including the company’s first out-of-state outpost headed for Washington, D.C., previously reported by the Boston Globe . Shaich, who lives in Brookline, sold Panera to a European investment firm in 2017 in a deal worth $7.5 billion, the Boston Globe reported. In 2018, he formed his own restaurant investment firm, Act III Holdings, and is currently the lead investor in Cava, Tatte Bakery & Cafe, and Level99 as well as Life Alive. The JP cafe is eyeing a late summer 2024 debut. It will be open daily from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., closing only on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Stay up to date on the latest food and drink news from Stay up to date with everything Boston. Receive the latest news and breaking updates, straight from our newsroom to your inbox.

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