A new Hawaiian-inspired food trailer is bringing the island spirit of aloha to Starkville. At NutriGroove, acai, smoothies, bagels and herbal teas are served up daily in hopes of spreading happiness and health.
The new health food business is conveniently located on East Lampkin Street at the Little Dooey Fellowship Place with plenty of space for people to sit and have a picnic.
Hannah Baird, the owner and chef at NutriGroove, explains why she thought Starkville needed to experience the flavors of Hawaii like she did one summer. Baird said she had never tried acai before her trip to Hawaii in 2019, but once she tried it, she was instantly a fan of the food. The business owner expressed how good the acai bowl made her feel and relished the fresh flavors. After her first bowl, she knew she had to find a way to bring Hawaii to Starkville.
"I just really wanted everyone in Starkville to be able to enjoy it the way I did. In Hawaii, everyone says 'aloha' when you're coming and going, and it's just a really peaceful, happy energy there. I just wanted to bring a little piece of that to Starkville," Baird said.
NutriGroove first opened on Sept. 14, 2020, with a menu boasting several different types of acai bowls, 'groovy smoothies,' beauty smoothies, savory and sweet bagels and herbal teas. A notable part of the new business is its unique name, and Baird said she chose it because she could feature a variety of healthy foods without restricting to acai only. The owner said wants her customers to know the food, while pretty, is also very nutritious.
Though Baird graduated with a degree in accounting from Mississippi University for Women, she said she felt her calling was in the food industry. She explained one of her first jobs was at The Little Dooey in Starkville, and the owners are a big part of her new business's success. The Wood family, who own The Little Dooey, provided a spot for Baird to park her food trailer. Baird expressed gratitude toward the Woods and said NutriGroove would not exist without their help.
Baird uses social media platforms and her website to promote her business and has accumulated about 2,000 followers over the past two months across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, with Instagram being her primary way of targeting customers. NutriGroove's social media and website feature brightly colored pictures of food, dogs and island graphics to attract interest.
Baird said one of her favorite things about owning NutriGroove is seeing the dogs people bring to the food trailer. She encourages her customers to bring their dogs and provides water and treats for them, too. "Groovy Pookies" is a logo Baird uses for her homemade dog treats, and she said her dog is the inspiration for the name.
From college students, to nurses, to firefighters, Starkville residents are turning out for a taste of Hawaii. Baird said she is very grateful for the overwhelming kindness she has received.
Bethany Sigmon, a freshman kinesiology major, is one of the college supporters Baird has appreciated. Sigmon said she likes the outdoor seating at NutriGroove.
"I like that it's a food truck, and you can sit outside," said Sigmon, while gesturing to the picnic table she was sitting at.
Customers enjoy NutriGroove for several reasons, but one thing many people have in common is their love of health food.
Ali Wharton, a freshman finance and risk management major, said she loves the variety at NutriGroove, and it is hard for her to choose a favorite item.
"I got an acai bowl one time," said Wharton, "and I got an everything bagel with avocado the next (time). I really loved them."
Since fall is here and winter is approaching, Baird explained she will be keeping the same summer-y menu she has now, while adding a few seasonal specials for the cool weather.
At NutriGroove, there is truly something for everyone, and Hawaiian foods are now easily accessible for Starkville residents to enjoy without leaving the Golden Triangle.