Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita about to get a healthy ‘urban cafe’ with cold-press juice and Paleo meals

The types of dishes served by Evolve Paleo Chef, which will serve food in Dugan’s expanded business.
The types of dishes served by Evolve Paleo Chef, which will serve food in Dugan’s expanded business.

Austin Dugan has come a long way since April 2016, when he first took his little cold-press juice cart out to peddle his colorful drinks.

A few months later, he had a storefront, and his brightly-lit 86 Cold Press smoothie and juice bar became another tenant on a downtown block of Douglas already occupied by popular businesses like Espresso to Go Go and Old Mill Tasty Shop.

Now, Dugan is ready to grown again.

He’s moving 86 Cold Press a few doors to the west and taking over the much larger space at 600 E. Douglas, which is sandwiched between Espresso to Go Go and Old Mill Tasty Shop. The spot most recently held Lifeboat Creative.

Dugan hopes to have the move complete before the NCAA Tournament arrives in town in March, and once he’s there, he plans to re-brand his business from a juice bar to an “urban juice cafe.” In addition to his juices, he’ll serve food prepared by Evolve Paleo Chef as well as yogurt bowls made with his own Backbone Yogurt, a product he’s about to start wholesaling to other restaurants around town. He also plans to have the yogurt stocked in the shelves of local grocery stores soon.

The business has been evolving ever since he partnered with Evolve Paleo Chef shortly after he opened, and he just needs more space, Dugan said. At the moment, he can seat only about 15 to 20 people comfortably. The new space will have triple the amount of seating and also will provide him room to produce his yogurt and up the production of his juice. His next plan, he said, is to open a second location somewhere in Wichita.

“We’ve been seeing such an influx of people sitting in our little tiny shop that there’s days that we max it out,” Dugan said. “People are coming in and they’re wanting to sit down and enjoy themselves but they can’t, so they have to leave. And with that, we just need a bigger space.”

There’s also an alley in the back of the new business, and Dugan hopes to set up tables there and offer jazz music in warm-weather months.

The move also will allow him to expand the number of days he offers his juice cocktails. Dugan has been mixing his juices with alcohol and turning them into cocktails for several months now, but because of his limited space, he’s been able to offer the cocktails only on Final Fridays and special cocktail nights.

Evolve Paelo Chef serves all kinds of healthy meals, Dugan said, including chicken Alfredo, chicken enchiladas and fish dishes. Dugan’s house-made yogurt also has become a growing hit, and in the new cafe, he’ll be able to offer it with a variety of toppings, including fresh fruits, coconut, flax seed and chia seed. He already has several other restaurants and coffee shops on board to start selling his yogurt.

Dugan, who was still in college studying entrepreneurship when he first launched his cart, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as a child but was been able to manage it through healthy eating and lifestyle choices. Juicing was a big part of that, he said. And the paleo diet also is quite similar to the diet he adopted years ago.

Dugan said he’ll close his business for a few days in March while he makes the move. I’ll let you know when he’s ready to open in the new space.

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