A little while ago, Jen Reichert got a chance to sit down and talk to Amber Lorenz, owner of Mint Jungle & Amber’s Market, which is the best option in town for a healthy, gluten free Cabo meal. Here’s how their conversation went:
Jen: Amber, can you tell me a bit about your background and why you became a business owner?
Amber: I was born and raised in Cabo to foreign parents and they're both entrepreneurs. They came down here and they made one of the first developments here in Cabo, so I guess being a business owner is in my genes. Why did I get into this business? For selfish reasons, I guess. I started getting sick and over a 10-year period, I have consulted with over 25 doctors. Eventually found out that I have Celiac disease. I found out that the food we eat can make us thrive or make us sick. In my case, it was making me sick. So that's when we got into gluten free, natural, healthy lifestyle.
Jen: Before you opened Mint Jungle & Ambers Market, were there other gluten free Cabo restaurants or stores that you knew of that stock gluten free produce locally?
Amber: There used to be Cabo Gluten free bakery in San Jose del Cabo, but that ended up closing after Odile. It's kind of a hard market to get into because gluten free baking is a science and you can't mix the different flours in the same kitchen. There are other places that sell it, you know, different markets. They sell bread and other produce. But most of it tastes like cardboard so that's why we got into it. Our first bread took us about a month to perfect. After many attempts, the bread rose beautifully and it tasted good. We practiced the recipe and got the consistency perfect.
Jen: When did you decide to open the restaurant?
Amber: We decided to come up with the business model while I was being diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
Jen: When you opened the business was it just to be a gluten free Cabo restaurant or were you planning on doing a bakery?
Amber: Originally it was just going to be a gluten free bakery. Then I thought "Okay, I really like green juices. I really like smoothies and I like salads and oh what if I want to have a sandwich someday. And then there are pizzas." So all that ... it's a good thing we did do that because there are people that go in just for the smoothies. Or clients that are addicted to our gluten free pizzas, so it's a good balance. We then we added the Mint Jungle Bar so that people could get their drinks and natural cocktails.
Jen: What are the business hours?
Amber: It opens at 8 am and we close at 10 pm.
Jen: What would you say is the busiest time of the day and the most popular time of the day?
Amber: Probably late breakfast early lunch.
Jen: What's the most requested thing on the menu?
Amber: Our detox green juice, the amber super green smoothie, and the rooster
sandwich. And out of the salads, the Cobb is the most requested. The Farm Fresh Pizza is a big hit. And right now, we have brand new cake, which is gluten free and dairy free.
Jen: How are people finding out about Amber's Market?
Amber: We haven't needed to advertise. We get people walking by, they see the words "gluten free" and they literally will eat there every day because the son or the mother or somebody in their family has Celiac. The whole family can all eat at Amber's Market and its good food. It's healthy but it tastes good.
Jen: Do you see yourself opening more locations?
Amber: We have had requests to open in San Jose del Cabo. And some people say "Why don't you open a food truck?" Some people say "Why don't you do a franchise?" And we are open to all of these ideas in time.
Jen: Is Mint Jungle & Amber's Market open seven days a week?
Amber: Yes - Seven days a week.
Jen: If somebody had questions about your menu, what's the best way to reach you guys?
Amber: Definitely Facebook because has all our contact information. Our phone number is on there so you can call us to make requests if you have a certain order like donuts. Everything is made fresh. A lot of people order our gluten free Cabo, dairy-free vanilla or chocolate cakes. Our food is fast-casual dining - It's easy, it's fast, it's yummy but it's not super fancy. We can handle last-minute requests, some people like to just pop by, see what we have on that particular day and take what's there. We're currently looking at offering a delivery service also.
Jen: If I called Mint Jungle & Amber's Market tomorrow and I want to place a delivery order, could you do it?
Amber: Not yet! When we do start up deliveries, we would probably start from Pedregal to Cabo del Sol and then from there see how much more demand there would be in other areas. If we end up doing another location we would still probably do all the baking in Cabo. We could also deliver gluten-free Cabo baked items to the San Jose location. Yeah, right now a lot of our regulars go two or three times a week. But a lot of them sometimes don't want to go into town so those regulars could end up ordering a delivery. I should mention that we are currently looking for companies that can do deliveries for us. If anyone out there is reading this - please email me at the address listed beneath!
It seems like since the moment Amber opened Mint Jungle & Amber's Market, the business has evolved quickly. And its evolution has been due to people making requests from the business. As someone who isn’t allergic to gluten or dairy, I haven’t been a fan of choosing a gluten-free meal. Namely, because it doesn’t taste as good as a regular meal does. But I have to tell you after eating at Amber’s Market, I had a sandwich and salad – and it tasted BETTER than so much else in town! The portions are huge and the ambiance is awesome.