The Greenville area’s first two Tropical Smoothie Cafés will open within a week of each other. A Woodruff Road location across from Trader Joe’s in the Woodruff Shopping Center opens March 18, and the Five Forks Simpsonville location near Lowes Food opens March 25.
“The overwhelming response has been more than we expected, and we haven’t opened our doors yet,” says Five Forks co-owner Bill Ruby. “I truly believe there are some folks out there who may actually be more excited than we are. The big challenge has been answering the drive-by, ‘when are y’all opening?’ question.”
Woodruff Road location owner John Wickey has experienced similar customer reaction at his location.
“So many of the transplants to the area are bringing their love for the brand with them,” he says. “Ever since the signs went up, people have been calling, stopping by, and just can’t wait for us to open.”
The restaurant chain, whose motto is “Eat Better. Feel Better,” is considered a healthier alternative to fast food.
“We felt strongly that it would resonate with the Upstate customer looking for a healthy, fast dining alternative in a fun, relaxed atmosphere,” Five Forks co-owner Greg Powell says. “We also think that Tropical Smoothie Cafe will be particularly attractive to the many young active families in the Upstate.”
Menu items from smoothies to flatbreads to wraps can be customized for particular dietary needs, such as vegan and gluten-free.
Ruby says another aspect he and Powell considered when they sought to open a restaurant was what today’s workforce would want.
“We needed a competitive edge — a place with no fryers, a place where you can go right from work to whatever comes next in your day or night without smelling like that place you just left,” Ruby says. “A place where you’re proud to work, where you have fun with a bit of Tropitude. No crazy color polyester uniforms like I had to wear back in the day, either; at TSC, we wear shorts, T-shirts, and tennis shoes.”
So what are the owners’ must-trys?
Wickey says for smoothies, he loves Avacolada and the Acai Berry Boost. His favorite wrap is the Buffalo Chicken, and the Chicken Pesto flatbread is a strong contender.
Powell says to go with the Chia Banana Boost Smoothie with Peanut Butter or the Chipotle Chicken Club flatbread.
Ruby’s go-to smoothie is the Detox Island Green with whey protein, and he’s also a fan of the Chicken Pesto flatbread.
Tropical Smoothie Café’s hours are 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Visit tropicalsmoothiecafe.com for the whole menu.