Color on color on color.
This is how Alix Barash describes BÅL’s menu offerings, which not only reflect the use of dynamic ingredients, but also the ethics behind the company she founded seven years ago.
The Mothership location, as Barash calls it, opened on Cape Cod in Wellfleet, Massachusetts in 2015. Its success inspired a second location in Wakefield, which opened on Main Street in 2019.
When Barash first opened BÅL, “it was a very little hole in the wall with a blender,” she said. “I had $ 500 and didn’t know where it would take usâ¦ and here we are.”
The menu offered today is still true to its original roots, and the mission remains the same: to provide a complete menu without inflammatory foods. The opening of the Wakfield location allowed Barash to expand the offering of smoothies and bowls to include toast, superfood waffles, hot rice bowls and kale salads. All of the different milks – or âmylkâ as they appear on the menu – are made on site and range from oat milk to almond milk.
The smoothie bowls go by names like: Earth. Fern. Purple. Fuschia. Gold. Grass. Thug. Indigo. Flamingo. Earth offers a blend of acai, strawberries, cocoa, peanut butter, cinnamon and bananas, all topped with strawberries, bee pollen, granola and toasted coconut. Flamingo includes strawberries, coconut butter, and bananas, topped with strawberries, bananas, chia seeds, granola, and toasted coconut.
All dishes on the menu are gluten and dairy free, plant based and organic. They also reflect Barash’s personal way of eating, which she developed in response to living with Lyme disease.
Barash was diagnosed with Lyme when she was 25, and some doctors believe she had not been diagnosed for ten years before. Now 36, she has lived for twenty years with a chronic illness, which continues to be a daily struggle.
When she was first diagnosed, Barash was living in Portland, Oregon and attending nursing school. She eventually had to drop out of school and spent years undergoing treatment for various diseases of her central nervous system, including her brain, heart and spinal cord. These treatments were based on Western medicine and involved a lot of antibiotics. After about five years, and when told that she might never have children, that she would likely end up in a wheelchair and eventually lose her eyesight, Barash decided that the Western approach of healing “did more harm than good.”
So she turned to a more holistic healing practice, rooted in Oriental and Chinese medicine, with an emphasis on things like acupuncture, yoga, and herbal nutrition. Changing her diet began to change how she felt. âIt gave me a glimmer of hope,â she said.
During this time, she also spent a few weeks in Kauai, Hawaii, with her husband, where different types of food and health options were available. Eventually, inspired by this pivot and her time in the Pacific, Barash decided to open a cafe and share her approach to food as medicine with others.
âI miss this part of my nursing life so much that I couldn’t come back and probably never will,â she said, ânow I [help heal] in another way.”
BÅL has become his way of sharing this gift of healing with others. Barash wasn’t sure what to expect when she opened the Cape Cod Cafe, where fried foods are the norm (and exactly what not to eat if you’re avoiding inflammatory foods), but She has received overwhelming support for her vegan bowls, with some customers sharing their own stories of adjusting their diets as a way to manage chronic disease or improve their health.
The community of Wakefield has also been of great support, particularly in response to Covid-19 and the pandemic. She and her husband are avid surfers and have long visited the shores of South County for its waves, particularly in and around Matunuck. When the idea of ââopening a second location in Wakefield surfaced, âwe decided to give it a go,â she said.
“We have very good people who believe in what we are trying to do,” she added, which is to create “a community of education, love and support”, especially for people who are recovering. . “It’s more than a menu for fun – every ingredient is well thought out.”
In fact, every item on the menu was designed by Barash, most after a year of personal experimentation with plant-based ingredients. When deciding what to go in a bowl or smoothie, she first considers the antioxidant qualities of plants and their health benefits, then how the colors blend together and visually present themselves.
This creative process reflects a childhood spent around the family-owned hand-painted textiles business in Sheffield, Massachusetts, where the factory is the size of a football field. âI’ve been around buckets of paint colors my whole life,â said Barash, noting that she grew up in a very creative family and that creativity was complemented by scientific thinking. This story, combined with the education of her own daughters and the development of a business with sustainable practices, influenced the form of BÅL.
“It sounds corny to say, but the blender has become my paint bucket.”
For more information on BÅL and its menu, visit boloflove.com or the cafÃ© at 318 Main Street, Wakefield, open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.