Relocated Health Hub aims to educate as well as nourish

Owners Cherie and Daniel Whitten stand before the buffet line and salad bar at the Health Hub with children, from left to right: Paul, Joy, Christa Grace and Abigail. (Enterprise photo — Ben Gocker)

TUPPER LAKE — With local organic fare on the menu and communal tables in the dining room, the newly relocated Health Hub is looking to change the way Tupper Lakers think about food.

Owners Cherie and Daniel Whitten recently moved their natural food store from the old C.J.’s Tavern building at 211 Park St. to the much larger former Park Restaurant space at 320 Park St. The move has given them an expanded kitchen to prepare hot meals and ample seating room to accommodate patrons.

Even without their new sign being attached to the sign post, and only a soft opening two weeks ago, people have been coming by to see what “The Hub” is all about.

“I’ve had Wild Center people, visitors, friends of family in town that are up visiting, seasonal people and old Tupper Lakers,” Cherie said. “Actually a pretty good number of older people from town coming and checking out the place.”

With foods that might be unfamiliar to some locals, like hummus and kombucha, Health Hub is out to educate as well as nourish.

“Some people just didn’t know what the stuff is,” Cherie said. “One girl walked in and said, ‘Ah, I don’t think my children will eat anything here.’ Which is kind of what I’m trying to do, to touch those people and get them to eat something new. Sometimes it’s pretty tough with the fast-food culture going on.”

One way the restaurant is looking to combat junk food culture is by replacing the bar at the old restaurant with what she calls a “Real Food Bar.”

“I’d like to do workshops and classes, too, but I’m hoping for more natural learning to occur,” Cherie said. “Part of that is the Real Food Bar, having the grill behind there and the sandwich table. There’s going to be a knowledgeable person who will cook in front of you and talk to you about the ingredients.”