By Robert Waldner
Photos by Tammy Harrow
You’ve just finished a killer surf session on St. Augustine Beach and you’re famished. Walking up A Street toward Beach Boulevard, the delicious aroma of slow-cooked chicken and the sweet notes of soft reggae beckon. Following the scents and the sounds lands you at a welcoming covered porch adorned with hammock chairs and plenty of outdoor seating. Congratulations! You have found Stir It Up, a local lunchtime favorite, serving healthy options for nearly two decades. Cynthia Michael, owner and operator of Stir It Up, uses the essence of the beach as an ingredient in her fresh sandwiches and salads. Located on the south side of the The Pit Surf Shop’s wraparound porch, with their service window facing A street, ‘Stir’, as many locals call it, sees a healthy flow of surfer clientele… no surprise since the majority of the surfing community is always seeking healthy food options.
“I bought the business in October of 2016,” says Michael. “I’ve received nothing but positive feedback from people who have eaten here over the years. Without the influence of the previous owners like Rachel Hynes and Wyndham Yancey, we would not be where we are today.” Cynthia has kept all the original menu items that Hynes, the inaugural owner, introduced in 1999, including her original twelve smoothies, which are widely considered to be the best around. New additions such as kombucha, chicken nachos, and peanut butter/banana quesadillas are proof that Stir It Up is just as motivated to bring in new customers as they are to keep their repeat customers happy. “Our new black bean burger is amazing,” says Michael. “We chop it up into a quesadilla and we also make it as a burger on toasted bread with fixins!”
For that quick pick-me-up, she adds, “If you haven’t tried our Kenyan cold brew, it’s a must-have to get you going. We even use it in a smoothie called ‘The Uprising,’”.
A big part of Stir’s appeal comes from its location and atmosphere. With its open air seating, comfortable hammock chairs, and reggae music playing continuously over the house speakers, Stir It Up soaks in the serenity of the ocean and showers its clients with all the sounds and feels of a beach vacation. “We have been a local favorite for 18 years,” says Michael.
Stir’s hospitality is not only extended to humans, but pets, too. “We make doggie treats for our four-legged friends,” she says. “We even deliver a bag to SAFE Animal Rescue at least once a month.”
If you live in St. Augustine Beach, and are hungry for some positive food in the comfort of your own place, you’re in luck. Stir will deliver their delicious menu items right to your door!
Stir It Up recently added weekend breakfast hours and extended the menu with the help of the restaurant’s newest team member, Jen Oleshak. “Jen is my right hand and does an amazing job. She’s always helpful with customers and constantly has a smile on her face,” says Michael. Stir’s slogan, “Positive Food In A Positive Place,” is more than just words on a sign to Cynthia Michael. “Employees must have a positive attitude to work here. We embody that in everything we make and with every customer interaction,” she says.
Now open seven days a week, from 11 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Monday through Friday and 8 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. on the weekends, Stir It Up “wants to see you on the porch!” For more information visit www.stiritupstaug.com, call (904) 461-4552, or stop in at 18 A Street today.