NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –  As a child in Barbados, Joy Thomas took an early interest in food.

“I was cooking mud as a little baby, making pies,” she said.

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Once grown and living in the United States, her passion persisted.

“I said, ‘One day, I’m going to have my own spot, and when I do, I want it to be vegetarian,'” she said.

She made her wish come true when she opened Secret Garden, a Bed-Stuy juice bar and tea house serving vegan soups, sandwiches, and salads.

Customers line up at a takeout window draped with vibrant tapestries. Outdoor seating takes the form of sidewalk benches and stools nestled among flowering plants.

Thomas is working to reopen the cozy interior dining area, which the coronavirus pandemic has kept empty for months.

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She relishes the opportunity to provide energizing, nutritious food, especially amid a global health crisis.

“We need to pay attention to our diets, the things we intake,” she said.

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Her menu highlights flavors of cardamom, curry, and cinnamon. The Love Divine smoothie blends strawberry, banana, apple, and pineapple. The vegan burger is made from pea protein and topped with smoky soy bacon.

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Thomas named her business after the 1993 film The Secret Garden, which captivated her in childhood.

“I didn’t grow up with a television or anything, so I never really watched TV, and that was one of the first movies I got to watch,” she said. “Them having this little getaway they could go to, it really inspired me.”

She hopes her juice bar can be an otherworldly hideaway that welcomes all people.

“I want you to come here, and I want all of your worries to go away.”

Secret Garden Juice Bar & Tea House
347 Lewis Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11233
(347) 221-0719

What’s something few people know about but everybody should? Whatever it is, Elle McLogan is tracking it down on The Dig. Join her hunt for treasures hidden across our area. Follow Elle on Twitter and Instagram.


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