The word Huriyali, translated from Hindi, is used to describe a lush green space – think rainforests or botanical gardens. The word evokes a sense of green vibrance. These concepts are what served as the primary inspiration for College of Charleston grads Tom McFall and Ruchi Mistry when they founded Huriyali Juices and Gardens just over two years ago.
The mantra of Huriyali is to provide food that is not only good for you but that tastes good, too. “We are healthy but always palatable,” Mistry explained.
“We use a lot of herbs and different things in the juices to get that fresh taste so it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking mud,” added McFall. Though you don’t have to worry about anything on Huriyali’s menu tasting like mud. From the best acai bowls on the East Coast, to mouth watering veggie paninis and loaded avocado toast, you can order with confidence. A confidence that stems not just from knowing the food you get will please your palate, but that it will equally nourish your body.
The pair focuses on fresh, natural and locally sourced ingredients. Their goal: providing Charleston with a healthy alternative to Southern comfort food favorites like shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy and all things fried. Huriyali aims to prove that food can taste great, look great and make you feel great.
Walk into Huriyali Gardens on 401 Huger St., and you will instantly be transported into a lush tropical getaway. Wooden picnic tables line the back garden with expansive umbrellas casting cooling shadows over the space. The perimeter of the garden is canopied with flourishing green botanicals. The parsley and sage flowers grown mere feet from Huriyali’s kitchen are interspersed throughout the menu. McFall and Mistry want visitors to feel welcome, to feel like they are part of the family as soon as they enter Huriyali. This welcoming extends to dogs, too. “We are very dog friendly, they’re not welcome a lot of places [downtown],” Mistry said. McFall and Mistry aim to create a sense of community through the garden; they want it to be a space that is both open and fun. “We want it be a party…and a really non-exclusive place,” Mistry said.
Much of the inspiration for Huiryali stems from the time McFall and Mistry spent together in India. After graduating from the College in 2012, Mistry planned to return home to Ahmedabad, India and McFall had a job lined up in New York. But, after spending the summer together in Charleston, McFall packed his bags and went to India with Mistry. While the food didn’t necessarily agree with McFall, he was constantly in “stomach turmoil,” he found the country’s food culture intriguing. Growing up in a gastronomically oriented family himself, McFall admired the dedication and passion Indians have for food. “The food culture there is so much more ingrained in everyday life… the average family cooks almost 17 hours a week at home, here I think it’s like six or something,” he said. In order to ease McFall’s stomach, Mistry’s mother would make fruit and vegetable juices to, as Mistry put it, “help sustain him.”
After just under a year in India, McFall and Mistry planned what was supposed to be a quick three week trip back to Charleston. Three years later, the pair is still here. In India, McFall had been working as a management consultant and Mistry was working for an infrastructure business, but they weren’t entirely satisfied. Once they moved back to Charleston, the pair got to thinking. “After working for other people, both of us didn’t want to jump back into corporate structure jobs,” McFall explained. They instead questioned what they could provide for their community and, on a “shoestring budget,” Huriyali Juices was born. Inspired by the fresh juices Mistry’s mother made for McFall, the pair partnered with local farmers and began creating juices that they sold at six farmers markets including Marion Square. Spending 12 hours a day in a rental kitchen, Huriyali Juices began to grow. But the pair had always aspired to have their own “brick and mortar,” Mistry said. On Aug. 19, 2015, Huriyali Gardens opened its doors on Huger Street.
Whether you choose to enjoy the ambiance of the shaded picnic tables surrounded by lush greenery, or pick up an acai bowl or smoothie on your way to the beach, Huriyali will not disappoint. As McFall puts it, “we make healthy food that tastes good and looks good.”
What’s not to love about that?
*This article first appeared in the April 2016 issue of the Yard.