Way back in 1996 when Manny Adeleye opened Booey’s, a smoothie and juice bar in South Orange, he might have been a bit too far ahead of his time.
Although smoothie spots and juice bars were opening up as early as the 1970s and 1980s, they didn’t really become mainstream until after the millenium.
In 2004, Adeleye sold Booey’s — which was located where Ariyoshi now is and then later moved a few blocks away to Village Plaza — and returned to a career in the corporate world. The new owners changed the name to “It’s a Wrap.” It closed after a few years.
But Adeleye, a self-taught chef, always thought he might return to the restaurant business, and to South Orange. Now, as he prepares to open The Dancing Blender Smoothie Company in South Orange Village, Adeleye is coming full circle and realizing his dream.
“Now I’m back,” said Adeleye in a recent phone interview, to recreate what Booey’s used to be. The new place is set to open its doors in the former Pirate’s Pizza & BBQ location at 121 South Orange Avenue at the end of August.
The Dancing Blender will offer smoothies, juices, wraps and salads, all freshly prepared, in a comfortable environment with free WiFi. “There’s nothing like this around,” said Adeleye. “It’s going to be comprehensive.”
Adeleye left South Orange after he sold the business, but a remarriage and newly blended family brought him back. When he decided to open another food business, he explored other towns such as Westfield, but his wife convinced him South Orange was the perfect spot.
“I live here and am invested,” said Adeleye. “I will be part of the solution.”
He is hoping The Dancing Blender will be a hit with locals as well as Seton Hall University students, who will be able to use their meal plan at the restaurant.
“We are excited to welcome The Dancing Blender to South Orange,” said Bob Zuckerman, Executive Director of the South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA). “Many people have been asking for a restaurant in our downtown that serves healthy food such as juices, wraps and salads, and The Dancing Blender should definitely fit that bill. Everyone at SOVCA wishes Manny the very best of luck, and we can’t wait until the ribbon cutting!”