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A fresh touch

December 16, 2010|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(Raul Roa/Staff…)

Mary Geyer was the first person to bring La Cañada a smoothie shop, in the form of Juice-It-Up nine years ago. Now, she's the first to bring a potato bar to town — at her new business, Malfi's.

Malfi's, named after Geyer's "happy place," the Amalfi Coast in Italy, is doing something different with its food. The restaurant is equipped with a full-service salad and potato bar, soups, juices, smoothies and giant pretzels. All of the food is fresh and never processed.

"We're not unpacking things and just tossing them in containers. There's a huge difference in just the freshness and the flavors. It gives it a much more personal touch," said Geyer, just minutes after stepping away from cutting and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables for the day. "My tagline is 'Where it's fresh' but I feel like I should change it to 'Where it's normal' because that's really what it is."

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Geyer's new establishment stands exactly where Juice-It-Up once did, 442 Foothill Blvd. She first opened Juice-It-Up in 2001 because she saw La Cañada was in need of a smoothie shop. The same motivation prompted Geyer to open Malfi's in November.

Although the new business will be known for its potatoes and salads instead of its juices and smoothies, both types of beverages are still available and healthier than ever. Geyer has eliminated the processed sugars that were prominent in Juice-It-Up's smoothies.

"[The smoothies] taste a lot different now but that's what real fruit tastes like," Geyer said.

Most of Malfi's menu comes right off the top of Geyer's head, resulting in unique flavors. Everything on the menu is prepared with the consumer's health in mind.

"It's kind of my mission — the shorter my ingredient list, the better I am," Geyer said.

One of her goals is to provide people an option to eat out on a budget without having to sacrifice quality.

"It's similar to what you'd be getting at Penelope's or the Dish or any of these restaurants where they have a full staff in the kitchen and out front," Geyer said. "The difference is I don't have a full staff out front."

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