In the years since opening, Honeybrains has become a true NoHo staple. The core of their cafe centers around the belief that the right food – healthy, nourishing, and wholesome – can help us be the best version of ourselves. Lifestyle and nutrition affect brain function, and creating an environment centered around bringing the most reliable, collective scientific knowledge into enjoyable food, drinks, and experiences is at the core of what Honeybrains does. We sat down with Marisa Seifan, a NoHo BID board member, to learn a little bit more about Honeybrains, nutrition, and Fitness Alley. All photographs by Charlie Bennet.
What led to the opening of Honeybrains? A passion for brain health. We wanted to make brain health knowledge accessible to everyone. Everyone cares about their brain, but most people do not know what to do to keep their brains healthy. At Honeybrains, we make eating for your brain easy, accessible and fun. Everything we create is 100% based on neuroscience and designed for your overall well-being.
Can you explain the Brain Bar concept and the role of raw honey in your brain health? The Brain Bar is a place where you can find delicious coffee and tea drinks that are made with raw sustainably sourced honeys. Switching from sugar to raw honey has scientifically-‐proven brain health benefits. Fructose, a major sugar component of honey also found in natural fruit, is more gradually absorbed in the body than processed sugars. The brain functions best when sugars are gradually absorbed. Special sugars within raw honey also can act as “prebiotics,” promoting growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Having healthy gut bacteria positively impacts our brain’s ability to use the energy we eat. Regular intake of raw honey also optimizes cholesterol levels in ways we don’t yet fully understand.
What are your favorite menu items at Honeybrains? That’s a really tough question! All our menu items go through a rigorous approval process by our neurologist, nutritionist and the Honeybrains management team. We taste each item multiple times before it makes it onto the menu. If I had to choose it would be power oatmeal with walnuts and berries for breakfast, Chicken Tikka Bowl for lunch, Berry bowl with honey for snack and Daily Catch Bowl for dinner. I also love the homemade peanut butter. My favorite drink is the Nut and Honey Latte. Who knew espresso and raw honey could taste so delicious together!
While it’s been open, you’ve experimented with the menu at Honeybrains, do you have any changes planned that we should be on the lookout for? We change our menu seasonally, but always keep crowd favorites like the avocado toast, chicken and rice bowl and power oatmeal. We also listen carefully to what our customers want. Many customers asked for a juice shot that they could take to stave off colds. Hence we created the Citrus Immunity shot that contains vitamin c, ginger, zinc, grapefruit juice, raw honey, lemon and zinc! Be on the lookout for new and delicious items coming soon on our winter menu!
More broadly, what trends do you see emerging in the food scene? Honestly, we don’t follow trends. We are trying to do our own thing and forge our own path. There is so much fear and confusion around food. Eating should be joyful. We are going back to the basics. That is why the foundation of our menu is built on fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and omega 3 healthful fats plus herbs spices, fermented food and natural sweeteners. We are focused on providing combinations of delicious foods that will allow help you get all the essential brain nutrients you need each day.
Your store is a delicious and beloved member of our Fitness Alley community. What kind of relationships do you have with the rest of NoHo’s health and wellness community? We have the most amazing relationships with members of the health and wellness community! This community has really embraced us. Oftentimes, you will see a fitness instructor and his or her entire class meet at Honeybrains before or after a workout. Many of these instructors have become dear friends. Many of our customers regularly hold meetings at Honeybrains or simply sit for hours socializing with friends and colleagues.
Why open the original store in NoHo? NoHo is a center for fitness and wellness concepts. When we arrived there were many fine dining restaurants, but there was a lack of healthy and affordable options in the neighborhood. We wanted to create a place you could visit any time of the day to relax, socialize and nourish your brain and body.
What’s your favorite thing about the neighborhood? NoHo feels like a small town in a big city. A real neighborhood where everyone knows each other. A key pillar of brain health is social connection and community. We really love being part of the NoHo community. NoHo is also a really beautiful neighborhood with all of the iconic historic buildings.