Good food and good vibes are perfect ingredients for a healthy lifestyle.
Manny Adeleye, owner of The Dancing Blender in South Orange, offers those things and more at his wrap, juice, and salad bar. Located at 121 South Orange Avenue, the eatery celebrates its one-year anniversary from August 28-30.
Complete with couches and earth-colored décor, The Dancing Blender’s atmosphere and interior design are relaxing. Customers tell Adeleye that the space is Zen-like and enhances their mood if they’re having a bad day. “It’s not coincidental,” he said. “That was my intention.”
So how has the first year been? “It has been wonderful and better than I expected it to be,” said Adeleye, a fitness trainer and self-taught chef. “One of the reasons has been because of the relationship we forged with Seton Hall athletics, where we sponsor several initiatives.”
During the school’s basketball season at Prudential Center, The Dancing Blender sponsors a ‘Dance Cam’, where they give away gift cards to attendees.
“Much of my staff is from Seton Hall,” added Adeleye. “So the relationship has been great for everyone.” Students and staff who show ID also receive a 10% discount.
If Adeleye looks familiar, it’s because he opened his first restaurant in South Orange in 1996. It was called Booeys and its two locations were where Ariyoshi and Village Plaza are now located.
After selling the shop in 2004, he worked for a time in the corporate world, rebuilt his personal life after divorce, and restructured to eventually build a new business.
Several years passed. Then he decided to springboard off what he’d done before and opened The Dancing Blender last year. “The menu is directly from when I started in 1996, but it’s been updated,” said Adeleye. “We’ve added chopped salads and a few other things. But the core of the menu of wraps, soups, and sandwiches is the same. Before any new item gets on the menu, we test it with customers for about a month before it gets added.”
Smoothies made with soymilk and an array of fruit is also a popular item. Adeleye said the menu provides an alternative for those who need a break from fast food or simply want a restaurant that caters to their healthy eating habits.
Adeleye said he has been approached by numerous people regarding franchises. “It’s something I’m thinking about,” he explained. “But I am focusing on getting this one right and then maybe opening up some others. But I’m taking my time.”
He’s inspired that a lot of his old customers came back. “They came back with t-shirts, shot glasses, and other promotional items from my old store,” he said. “That fills me and it’s touching. My new customers see that and think that maybe we’re doing something great.”
To commemorate the one-year anniversary, the restaurant will feature a special offer: the first 20 Seton Hall people who show a school ID, and the first 50 non-SHU customers, can purchase a smoothie and get a tuna or Las Brias wrap for free. Customers purchasing other items receive a one-time 20% discount.
The Dancing Blender Smoothie Company, 121 South Orange Avenue, South Orange, NJ, (p) 973.821.5707,