California-based store expands to Austin, offers healthy options on campus

Hannah Daniel

Shake Smart’s first out-of-state location is now open in Gregory Gymnasium, offering smoothies, açaí bowls, whole-wheat wraps and more to the UT community.

The California-based store was founded by two San Diego State University students who saw a lack of healthy food options on their college campus. Shake Smart president Kevin Gelfand and vice president Martin Reiman created the chain with the goal of providing taste, health, convenience and affordability, Gelfand said.

In addition to blended drinks, açaí bowls and wraps, Shake Smart’s menu includes items such as sandwiches, oatmeal, cold-brew coffee and yogurt. The health benefits of their products come from the absence of ice cream, purées, sherbets and processed and artificial sugars, Gelfand said.

“Ninety-five percent of our shakes have 30 to 55 grams of protein … so that you get more of a meal in a cup rather than just a sugar-filled drink,” Gelfand said.

Erin Philip, a management information systems senior who first tried Shake Smart when they offered free shakes during their grand opening, said she comes back between classes when she doesn’t have enough time for a traditional meal.

“It’s filling, but it’s also really fast to get, so instead of eating an actual meal, you can easily just grab this as a replacement,” Philip said.

Shake Smart also released an app that allows customers to pay from their phones and participate in a rewards program. The restaurant’s app, food and drink options and long hours of operation have elicited a generally positive response to the opening, said Jennifer Speer, director of communications, assessment, development and IT for the Division of Recreational Sports.

“The hours are great, because they’re open early and stay open late,” Speer said. “One thing that students have told us for many years is that healthy options were not plentiful on campus and not for long stretches of time.”

UT was chosen as the location for the company’s seventh store based on factors such as the amount of traffic on campus, the emphasis placed on athletics and fitness and the cutting-edge quality of Austin, Gelfand said.

“UT was always kind of a dream store for us,” Gelfand said. “We had visited the campus when we were seniors for a business plan competition and just fell in love with the atmosphere … We love that campus and always wanted our first out-of-state store to be there.”