According to Eloy Roy, Jr., the owner of the new The Lights Juicery & Cafe in Charlotte, the pursuit of one’s health isn’t found in a restrictive diet or an intimidating regimen; rather, to lead a healthy life warrants one thing: balance—achieved through intuitive, attentive, and sustainable eating.
Originally from Miami, Florida, Roy Jr. and his Buenos Airian family moved to Charlotte eight years ago. It would become the place where Eloy ultimately fulfilled dreams of starting his own restaurants. Today, he invigorates Ballantyne with the energy, intention, and community that is The Lights Juicery & Cafe, and promotes a sustainable, healthful lifestyle as inspiring as it is appetizing.
What is the meaning behind the name “The Lights”?
I refer to moments of positivity, goodness, presence, shared emotion, conversation, and genuine attention as “moments of light.” True foods are a source of light and energy, which is reflected through those who choose to indulge in those true foods. The Lights is full of love, care, and connection.
The Lights is dedicated to serving an all-organic menu. What standards of quality do you look for when sourcing your ingredients?
The dream was to build a place where one does not need to question the level of quality. The ingredients served at The Lights are the best possible ingredients that I have found– I don’t cut any corners. I look for sustainable options when sourcing both the ingredients and packaging in the store. Organically grown foods sustain the health of the planet as well as the health of the individual; I believe it allows for the brain to work more efficiently, to think more clearly, and to love more strongly.
Your family also owns Oggi. How has this experience influenced how you approached The Lights?
I connected so deeply with that space—I lived there. Every meal of the day was cooked in that kitchen; I spent the days studying service and connecting with a fantastic clientele. At Oggi, I watched, with careful attention, how a space becomes an energy source. The more time and care we put into Oggi, the more the restaurant lit up with people, food, and ambiance. I looked to expand the energy source that is Oggi with The Lights.
For people new to juice, what would you recommend starting with?
Each juice provides specific benefits. For example, if you are exercising, I would suggest something sweeter that allows the body to get the essential roots and the proper sugars that one needs to kick-start the digestive process. Choosing between a juice or a smoothie depends on the level of satisfaction the body is looking for. The body will work a little harder to process the fibers provided in a smoothie. The key is to listen to what the body is asking for: if you had sweets the night before, go for a greener juice or smoothie to cleanse and balance sugars; if you skipped that snack the night before, go for the sweeter option. It’s all about balance.
What are your goals for the future of The Lights?
I’m looking to grow in terms of expanding the menu—adding adaptogenic, medicinal foods that heal the mind along with the body—and to incorporate house-made, immune boosting bone broths and mineral vegetable broths to gently cleanse the gut and heal inflammation. The grand picture for The Lights is to grow a large team so we can ultimately deliver juices to people’s homes, and to connect more with local farms and educate the community of the important and necessary shift in food consciousness.