Belatedly baking our Swiss Christmas cookies a few weeks ago, we dreaded the hour-long drive to Trader Joe’s for hazelnuts or hazelnut flour, so we stopped into Nassau Health Foods for one final check. We found it! “That’s exactly what we’re trying to be: a place where you can find specialty items without leaving the island,” said the person who rang up our order.
Soon after for lunch, my daughter, Sophia, a Fernandina native, was in town, and we sat in a corner of the new Amelia Fresh Café at Nassau Health Foods watching people steadily streaming in as we waited for owner Steve Adams. Grocery shoppers were crossing over to the café and vice versa, while others picked up takeout orders. We picked a really busy time, we thought. Then Steve joined us and told us no, every day is like this.
Amelia Fresh Café offers beer, wine, tea, water, and organic almond milk smoothies sweetened with agave nectar. On this visit, I decided upon the bright Blueberry Blast smoothie to begin my lunch. With espresso hand-pulled from the Italian machine, Sophia’s latte tasted distinctly European—rich, strong, and satisfying.
Two close friends had insisted I try the Ginger Chicken, but I was craving a Roasted Beet Salad, and this one came together nicely with blackened mahi, goat cheese, almonds, and lemon-shallot vinaigrette. Sophia’s Kofta Burrito was a mix of spicy beef, house-pickled red onions, hummus, and red pepper aioli. And how delectable were those vegan soups! The warm spice of the Carrot-Ginger Soup made me want to take home a quart or two.
Everything at Amelia Fresh Café is made from scratch for each day’s menu or for the retail case, and most items sell out quickly, says Steve. Nothing is thrown away, so expect interesting breakfast burritos and quiches. Look for fresh daily, house-made biscotti, banana bread, and muffins. Vegan foods from Shakti Life Kitchen even have a dedicated case for their wares.
Amelia Fresh Café is located inside Nassau Health Foods, a generous and well-planned retail space filled with the finest organic and natural products. Some of us shopped at the tiny 8th Street storefront where Nassau Health Foods began, where we’d see the spectacular Ma’Vynee Betsch, the “Beach Lady,” which was expanded under Buster Beaton. Steve Adams bought the store in August 2021, remodeled the store and re-imagined the café, adding a delightful deck that seats 24 in any season, with 21 seats inside and a coffee bar that seats ten.
As we finished our meal, eleven lunching ladies walked in hoping to find seating. With little effort, Steve was able to settle them comfortably on the deck. He’s glad to see regulars coming back with friends and talking for hours. It’s the culmination of his dream of transforming the space into a social gathering spot.
With the opening of Amelia Fresh Café, it’s a new era at our beloved Nassau Health Foods! This spacious café is at once a breakfast spot, quick lunch stop, slow food enjoyment space, social gathering scene, coffee bar, and beer + wine venue—truly “A Café for Conscious Eating,” as its motto says. Amelia Fresh Café is located at 833 T.J. Courson Road.