Move In Beyond: Making Salads & Living Well with Nicole Berrie
Located in the picturesque West Village, Bonberi Mart has long been on our NYC radar. It’s as easy to shop in as any convenience store, but with a laser focus on health and wellness. Think plant-based meals and snacks, fresh juices and smoothies, plus non-toxic apothecary essentials for New Yorkers who are on the go. We recently got the chance to visit and meet its friendly founder Nicole Berrie, who is known for her approachable, cult-favorite recipes. As timing would have it, Bonberi Mart was about to come up on their fifth anniversary. Naturally, our team suggested celebrating the occasion together with a store takeover of Nicole’s BY picks and an exclusive salad collab to welcome fall.
We hung out with Nicole at her store on a particularly beautiful early October day, merchandizing her favorite tops and jumpsuits among bottles of Ghia non-alcoholic apéritif and Ten Over Ten nail polish. After setting up shop, we made our way down the street to her home where she made us lunch and talked about everything from starting a small biz to creating daily routines to comforting Korean stews.
Nice to meet you Nicole! Want to start things off by telling us about yourself?
I’m a founder of Bonberi, a digital destination for all things well-being, and Bonberi Mart, a plant-based grab-and-go store in New York City. I’m also the author of Body Harmony, which is an intuitive guide to plant-based eating.
I’m originally from New Jersey, so I grew up going to New York City delis and corner stores. I just always loved how convenient they were. When I started to shift my lifestyle to more alternative, natural living, I wished for a place that married convenience with all things non-toxic and good for you. That’s sort of how my idea for Bonberi Mart came about.
Yes, we want to know more about the beginnings of Bonberi and
I used to live a very fast lifestyle before. I was a former compulsive addict– alcohol, drugs, food. I carried that with me into my twenties then finally hit rock bottom and thought, there’s got to be another way. I began to heal through alternative and Eastern medicine, slowly putting myself back together.
At the time I was working in magazines and had just started my blog, Bonberi. Being a journalist I wanted to interview people from other walks of life–chefs, models, artists. Instead of asking them the usual, “What are you wearing?” I asked what supplements they took, what their evening rituals were. The site grew a cult following with the birth of Instagram so I shifted my focus to alternative living and healing recipes. The recipes really took off and that’s when the journey towards Bonberi Mart really began.
In 2018 I had an opportunity to open a pop-up, which was a great way for the Bonberi online community to try my food in person. It was initially only supposed to be open for six months but I kept renewing the lease until after two years, I finally said to myself, “Okay, this is a real business.”
Whoa, that’s pretty amazing! You’ve obviously mastered the art of eating well. What else do you do to stay physically healthy?
I started practicing yoga when I was in college and it’s been a grounding exercise that I consistently come back to. I like all different kinds of workouts but yoga has meant much more to me, physically and spiritually. It’s gotten me through so many challenges in life. I try to move my body and sweat every day, but it’s not always through yoga. That’s another great thing about it though, no matter how much time passes, your mat is always waiting for you.
Very true, part of why we love yoga too. Can you walk us through a typical day for you?
Being a mom of two, there are routines that are really important. The first thing I do when I wake up is conscious breath work for one minute. It just sets the tone for the rest of the day. Then I’ll make breakfast for the kids and get them ready for our walk to school. I stop by Bonberi Mart for a nut milk latte before my workout. I’m definitely a caffeine-before-workout type of person. As for work, any day might mean content creating or recipe testing or being at the store if we’re having an event. I feel like I’m constantly just moving around.
What about at the end of the day? Is there anything you do to decompress?
I do have a pretty disciplined meditation practice and it shifts, but right now it’s kundalini yoga actually. I like to do that and the infrared sauna. I feel it's a great release.
Do you have personal favorites from the BY collection?
Totally! I’m obsessed with the gray argyle set (The Softmark Refocus Cropped Tank and Legging). I also love a onesie. In summer I always wear the short onesie and the longer onesie in fall, especially in fun prints. It just takes the guesswork out of getting dressed and makes life so easy.
Are there any other things that you find comfortable and comforting?
I try to talk about comfort food and redefining what that means. It doesn’t have to be something that is overindulgent and you feel guilty about eating. It’s something that just feels like home and grounds you. So comfort food for me is both the green juice I’ve had every morning for years, as well as a hot soup that my mom used to make. She’s Korean and would always have stews on the stove and that smell is super comforting to me.
Speaking of food, we’re excited about our special Beyond Yoga x Bonberi Mart salad.
Yes, I am too! Since we’re transitioning into fall, I wanted to come up with something that was light, bright and crisp but also grounding. Honeycrisp apple was the hero ingredient and then I added kale and white cabbage alongside quinoa, roasted potato, and crunchy veggies. I always encourage eating with the seasons. Fruits and vegetables always have the most vitality when they’re at their peak, even better if they’re local too.
We can’t wait! Before we part, do you want to leave the BY community with any words of wisdom?
A lot of us are searching for that magic answer in terms of wellness, but what that answer is going to mean for me is going to be different for you. The only way to discover what true wellness means for us is to get quiet and intuitive, listen to what your body is asking you for. I would say the first step is listening to your cravings, which aren’t a bad thing. Even if it’s junk food that you want, you can affirm that inner voice by allowing it instead of denying it. Eventually you’ll start to recalibrate and crave things that are actually nourishing but still feel indulgent. What I want in July is different from what I want in January. In my thirties it was different from now in my forties as a mom. Cravings shift over time. Just listen to and trust yourself!
Photography by René Fragoso