In the kitchen with Chef Joe of Happy Healthy Human
Chef and Owner Joe Tom
Since 2005, Happy Healthy Human has been an organic oasis within the Brevard County beachside community. A core focus on serving fresh vegetarian, vegan and raw cuisine has helped establish the Indian Harbour Beach café and organic market as a locally loved destination for light lunches and cold-pressed juices.
Among Happy Healthy Human’s fan club was Kathy Tom, a longtime Satellite Beach resident and restaurant regular. Late one afternoon, Kathy stopped by for a bite to eat, and noticed the restaurant had permanently closed. Dismayed, Kathy phoned her husband, Joe, and half-jokingly suggested he buy the restaurant and reopen it.
Joe Tom will celebrate his two-year anniversary as the proud owner of Happy Healthy Human this July.
Before starting this chapter as a restaurant owner, Joe, 59, owned and operated an automotive air conditioning shop in Palm Bay for nearly three decades.
“Kathy suggested it might be time for me to retire,” said Joe, chuckling. “She thought taking over the café might be a good opportunity for me to ‘slow down.’ That shows you how much we knew about owning a restaurant!”
As it turns out, running Happy Healthy Human was more work than the couple anticipated. Luckily Tom, a Brevard native, is no stranger to dedication and hard work. When he’s not managing the restaurant, Joe stays busy volunteering extensively for his church, Faith Fellowship in Melbourne. He and his wife, who just celebrated their 38th year of marriage, help run the church’s massive summer youth camp.
The couple also works out together, attending high-intensity interval training classes at nearby Trinity Fitness three mornings a week.
“Living an active lifestyle means a better, longer life,” said Joe, who in his free time, enjoys hiking, running and kayaking. “Putting good food into your body is key. It’s your fuel. Eating clean is as important as staying active.”
The health-conscious have been touting the benefits of eating organic for years. Recently, the movement has notably shifted more toward the mainstream. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates sales of organic food have more than doubled since 2005, and the industry’s growth shows no signs of slowing.
Beyond cold-pressed juices and organic produce, the café also offers sandwiches, quinoa bowls, salads and grab-and-go options. Best sellers like their acai bowls (made using the frozen puree of an antioxidant-packed Brazilian berry), house-made kale chips and their signature “Human Sandwich” are so popular, they often sell out.
A section featuring hand-made gifts that raise money for orphaned, young African women reveals the mission of Happy Healthy Human is as much about feeling good as it is about doing good.
If you enjoyed this story and want to read more click here.