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Talking Shop: Drink your 20 pounds of veggies

PorroVita, which means "long life" in Latin, brings an intense juice cleanse to Newport Beach.

February 13, 2014|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Owner Chase Bray, 27, top, and employee Jake Massanari, 21, blend fresh vegetables and fruits as they fill an order at PorroVita, a smoothie and juice bar in Newport Beach.
Owner Chase Bray, 27, top, and employee Jake Massanari,… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Chase Bray was stumped.

On the verge of launching his own business, the Newport Beach resident had a business plan formulated, investors lined up and a location in mind.

What was missing was a name.

One day, while working as a valet at the Montage Laguna Beach, he spent his lunch break flipping through a Latin dictionary. And there he saw the words "porro" and "vita," which together mean "long life."

"I'm basically trying to extend people's lives, be it a cancer patient or someone who is just trying to provide his body with healthier options and more nutrients," Bray said of his year-old venture, PorroVita, which offers healthy juices, acai bowls and smoothies.

The store's ambience also encourages art and relaxation.

Stepping into the airy and sun-dappled store on Newport Boulevard, it's easy to tune out the sound of cars thundering by. PorroVita, which resembles an artfully decorated shack with exposed walnut wood, is an oasis of sorts where people can peruse maritime sketches, paintings and photographs that dot the walls and take a seat at a community table or on an armchair.

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While the business focuses on cleansing the body of impurities, it also sells caps and T-shirts that bear the company logo, as well as surfboards.

Inspiration struck Bray during a full-body cleanse at San Diego-based Optimum Health Institute in 2011. There, he met people afflicted with type 2 diabetes and other illnesses who had adopted a holistic and natural approach to healing, and learned about juices and their effects on the human body.

Returning home, he decided to create a unique brand that could offer a healthy environment in which to understand the advantages of — and consume — fresh fruits and vegetables. He was excited to provide residents an alternative to the area's plethora of bars.

PorroVita debuted in December 2012, and soon after, Bray hired seven employees to work alongside him. The store is busiest on weekday mornings, he finds, with customers making a quick stop on their way to work. Alternately, foot traffic is heaviest on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, as locals and tourists stop by for a taste.

Bray, who is on the lookout for additional spots for more stores, created the menu in his home kitchen by "messing around" with different ingredients, he said. He then enlisted the help of a nutritionist.

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