NEW HAVEN: If the smoothies, fruit syrups and kombuchas at the new healthy spot in town, The Cult Cafe on State Street, it looks pretty cool, there’s a reason for that.
Owner Alexander Angeloff grew them himself.
And if Angeloff, 30, seems a bit like a cross between a former apothecary owner and a mad scientist, well, there’s a reason for at least part of that, too.
It is a member of the Silver family, which for generations owned and operated the iconic Silver’s Drug Shop in downtown West Haven. His grandfather was the late Ed Silver, who with brother David Silver was the generation of Silver owners that many people still remember today.
While Angeloff isn’t a pharmacist (he’s an environmental science dropout from the University of Connecticut), he wants to change what you put in your body.
It’s all about gut health.
“You’d be hard-pressed to think of a chronic disease that doesn’t go back to the gut,” said Angeloff, wearing an old black Rush concert T-shirt from the 1981 “Moving Pictures Tour.”
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have all the cafe stuff you want: in a comfortable place to sit, filled with green houseplants, with parts of old pine tree branches mounted on the walls, “clouds “spongy” cotton. ” floating around the ceiling, a model of the solar system in one corner, and old Silver’s Drug Shop memorabilia on the walls.
Espresso shots? check Coffee Mocha? Yes. Matcha? Absolutely, enhanced by a few other things designed to keep you nice and lucid.
On a recent day, the smoothie menu included cultured pineapple smoothies, ginger water and kefir, strawberry-banana with several enhancements, “Nutless Wonder” with banana, hemp and flaxseed, strawberry-raspberry, blueberry-raspberry and “Get -up- and go!” with bananas, three berries and espresso.
His new location, which opened last week in the former Squillo cigar store at 965 State St., between the Tavern on State restaurant and the Greater New Haven Cat Project, is an extension of the tinctures, extracts and infusions that has done for the past four years a The Remedy Co., Angeloff’s business on North Colony Road in Wallingford.
In many cases, they are mixed with cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, CBN and CBC; yogurt; home-made kombucha and kefir cultures served cafe-style.
“I think a lot of people turn to natural health products when their health has already deteriorated,” said Angeloff, whose mother is Wendy Silver. “Either they’re sick of Western medicine or their doctors tell them they can’t take any more Tylenol.”
While her naturally grown products “can be very helpful in pumping the brakes on an inflammatory cycle,” they’re not the be-all, end-all, said Angeloff, who advocates leading a healthier lifestyle to avoid getting to that point. .
The cafe, located near the corner of State and Edwards streets, is essentially the sum total of “all the things I’ve been preaching for years,” said Angeloff, who lives nearby in the East Rock neighborhood.
All of the ingredients he uses “come from local farms” and/or are of “the highest quality,” he said. “I’d really like to create a place where people can come and eat things to offset all the other things,” including things that might not be so healthy, that they put in their bodies.
Angeloff discovered in his twenties “that making yogurt was as simple as putting a few cultures in some milk and letting it heat up.”
He started by learning how to make kombuchas (fermented tea) and yogurt. With kombuchas, he started simply with green and black tea.
“Then I quickly got bored of that and started experimenting with spicier ingredients, including chai (spiced tea) and mixed fruit teas.
He uses kefir and other fermented milks to mix with The Cultured Cafe’s smoothies and water kefir to make other treats, like “cultured pours.”
The food menu is still taking shape, Angeloff said, though he said he’ll soon start having alternative “Happy Hours” by making non-alcoholic cocktail alternatives from some of the different fermented concoctions he mixes for the shakes.
But even without it, the place looks inviting, with a kombucha batch start and wtaer kefir batch starting in glass urns on the bar, along with seven colorful kefir side ferments mixed with everything from beet juice and celery to cucumber mint. .
The bar itself is made of wood from an old 1800s barn in Rocky Hill that Angeloff repurposed.
At some point soon, Angeloff said he plans to offer classes and lectures and possibly other forms of entertainment.
The goal is to “cultivate a health-based community” through coffee, he said.
One person already on board is Angelo Vessichio, a West Haven professor who is both Angeloff’s friend and his landlord.
“My mom owned a cigar store, Squillo’s, for 61 years,” and it was hard for her to leave the store, Vessichio said. But “we liked the natural path it was taking.”
Since opening what is officially called The Remedy’s Co.’s Cultured Cafe, Vessichio has been coming in almost every day for an espresso and sometimes a milkshake. “I have to support my friend,” he said.
For now, The Cultured Cafe is open Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. But Angeloff hopes it will “eventually be a haven for night owls” and keep it open even later.