Monday, January 30, 2023

Tartt and Ronzo Opening 'Hoka, Also' Downtown (With Video)

If you miss Ron Shapiro’s Hoka Moonlight Cafe and his Main Squeeze juice bar (which was located right behind Pizza Hut on University Avenue), you aren’t the only one. Blake Tartt, III, is another fan. Now, he’ll be leasing space to Shapiro so the latter can open his new venture, called “Hoka, Also,” in the former Renasant Bank (nee Gathright-Reed drug store) just off the Square (across from Square Pizza), sometime this fall. Tartt acquired the building recently and, in Shapiro, has found a tenant worthy of the home of the Magic Mirror.
“I’ve been wanting to do the juice bar and smoothie shop ever since I closed Main Squeeze,” says Shapiro, who notes that the closing of the restaurant, which served smoothies, fresh juices, burritos, salads, and more, wasn’t by choice. The details aren’t important at this point, but there was a problem, he says, when Pizza Hut (in front of Main Squeeze) discovered he was doing food, and his lease was terminated a few years ago.

Hoka, Also, will open in this space on Van Buren, just west of the Square.
Hoka, Also, will open in this space on Van Buren, just west of the Square.

“At the time I closed, my business was really doing well,” Shapiro says. “I knew there was a market, and since I’ve closed, the awareness of juicing has exploded. In the meantime, I’ve done a lot of traveling and come up with so many more ideas of things I want to serve. I want to be more full-service … Everything I serve I want to be hormone-free and organic. Like at the juice bar, I want to be as organic as I can, and serve really tasty food at a fair price. I’m kind of obsessed with it. I’ve been wanting to get back in business, and this location came available, and I’m going to jump in and do it again.”
Shapiro says Hoka, Also, will open early and stay open late. He plans to sell the variety of items Main Squeeze purveyed and add new stuff such as beef brisket.
“Blake Tartt’s interested in me being there, because he has a crib nearby, and I think he wants a place nearby he can come eat,” says Shapiro. “He was a big fan of the Hoka, and he knows I’m going to be doing the Hoka cheesecake and fudge pie there.”
— Tad Wilkes,