Faces of The Square: Omer & Jennifer Horev
Opening late 2020, Pura Vida is a part of Rosemary Square's wave of culinary destinations focused on offering creative, health-conscious dining to the community. We chatted with Omer and Jennifer Horev, the powerhouse couple behind the beloved cafés that are popping up around Miami, and who are now setting their sights on West Palm Beach.
How did Pura Vida get its start?
Pura Vida started out as a side passion project for Omer. He wanted a neighborhood spot where he could get his green juice and coffee. Fast forward a few years, he meets Jennifer and together they decide to quit their jobs in real estate and pursue this Pura Vida dream full time. We rebranded, redid our menu, introduced all day breakfast, salads, bowls and sweet treats. We spent every minute at the South Beach store listening to our customers and creating a space they loved to visit daily. We received such a positive response from our guests requesting we open in various cities we decided it was time to expand. First Edgewater, then UM Coral Gables, and finally the Design District. Six years later, here we are, working side by side and running a thriving business together. We are humbled to provide jobs for hundreds of families and serve the community with healthy food daily.
What’s it like to run a business as a husband and wife team? Are there certain aspects of the business that you each focus on?
It's an incredible experience working as a husband and wife team; it's beautiful to create something together and we actually work really well together. Our individual strengths complement each other's weaknesses. I wouldn't recommend working with your partner unless you have that balance. The restaurant business in general is tough, every day brings a new challenge; from food shortages, employees not showing up, angry customers, to now pandemics. Jen and I don’t see things as a problem as rather a challenge. Every day is an exciting new challenge for us. In addition to the regular restaurant hospitality challenges, working together as a husband and wife can be tricky. We had to learn how to work side by side without overstepping. Omer handles the operations and numbers and Jen is responsible for the design, brand and marketing. We try to listen and support each other while also staying in our own lanes, as best as we can. It’s been a fun and exciting learning curve with lots of sweat, tears and laughter along the way.
Any advice for other couples who are in the beginning stages of starting a business together?
Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. What you like to do and what you don't like to do. Which of the items on the "don't like to do list" can you hire someone to do? Be sure your strengths complement each other's weaknesses. You don't need two creatives, there needs to be one person who can make the financial decisions for the business and vice versa. Design a plan for your business and make sure your expectations for each other are clear from the beginning. Communication and the ability to compromise are key ingredients for a successful partnership. Most importantly, always schedule date night every week! We go on "date night" on Tuesday night every week, and the rule is to not talk about work. It is incredibly hard, and some weeks that seems impossible, but we really try. Omer thought it was ridiculous at first, but I swear it's been one of the best things we've done for our relationship and our business.
We know that many of your dishes are influenced by family recipes. Are there any specific ingredients that you associate with certain family members? Do the majority of recipes come from a particular family member?
Omer is from Israel which is the food capital of the world. He is largely influenced by his mother and grandmother. They are incredibly talented at putting dishes together and working with all kinds of ingredients and flavor profiles. He grew up with a large Morroccan family cooking Shabbat dinners every Friday. His grandfather is the best sous chef too, making homemade salads, sauces, breads, meats, desserts, the works. His grandmother also grinds all her own spices, which really make a big difference in the dish.
What cultures influence your dishes?
Israel's Mediterranean culture is a heavy influence. Dishes need to be filled with colors, fresh vegetables and herbs. We actually played a game at Omer's daughter's school for a contest for the student with the most colors on their plates!
Your cafes are so bright and airy, where do you draw design inspiration from?
I was inspired from our travels to Israel, Mykonos and Tulum. I wanted to bring that laid-back beach vibe to Miami, with a little Miami luxury flare.
What drew you to Rosemary Square and West Palm Beach?
We truly believe in Related Companies’ vision for reviving Rosemary Square and the impact it has on the City of West Palm Beach. We believe people are looking towards building healthier lifestyles and are connecting with family owned brands that have passion for community and wellbeing. We feel that Pura Vida's food along with our beach town vibe will complement the area very well.
Learn more about Pura Vida here.