What do you get when you take a girl from Atlanta and a girl from Virginia and you blend them together in the middle of a New Orleans railway? You get a recipe for success that airbrakes in Long Beach and some super healthy food options with a kick.
Tomeka Bryant and Ailsa Von-Dobeneck met working in the railroad industry in New Orleans. They became instant friends who bonded over food, drinks, and good times on the Gulf Coast.
“I think the secret sauce here is that Tomeka is an operational genius,” Von-Dobeneck said. “She knows logistics, business, and banking. I am a marketing and creative brain. Together, the yin and yang work perfectly. After working together, I moved to DC to work for the railroads on Capitol Hill and we ran into each other at a conference. The rest is history.”
The Juciy Caboosy, and yes, it’s an actual train caboose, sits at 407 Mason Ave. in Long Beach with a gorgeous view of the water and a breeze that lets you know you are at the beach. Basically, it’s fresh and juicy from a caboosy that’s sometimes boozy.
“We have all sorts of lawn games and activities so we figured folks could come right off the beach for a cocktail or fresh juice and some delicious food,” Von-Dobeneck said. “I was on Masterchef and used to have a national cooking column so I handle the food side of the house. Tomeka is a juicing genius so she runs that operation.”
So how exactly did the Juicy Caboosy journey begin? Apparently, there are online auction houses for all sorts of cabeese, and yes, that is the plural for caboose.
“We saw each other after a couple of years at a work conference in St Louis and were looking for a fun creative outlet and we thought, how about a juice bar in a caboose car?” Von-Dobeneck said. “So we bought it, sight unseen, online. The caboose was sitting in the middle of Pattonsburg, Missouri. They were planning to build a community center and sold the caboose as part of that effort. When we went to pick her up, it was clear how many prom pictures, family photos, and special moments had been staged at the caboose.”
The entire town of Pattonsburg has followed their journey from the very beginning until the opening by sending notes of encouragement, comments, and photos of their own families. They even had a town proclamation, declaring the purchase date of July 14, 2022 as “Juicy Caboosy Day” in honor of women in business.
“We cried,” Von-Dobeneck said. “Ironically, they also have a big car show and many folks from Pattonsburg came down to the Coast for Cruisin the Coast this year, meeting up with folks they met on our site. It has just been so moving and we can’t wait to get the whole town for a visit.”
So, what can you expect to find on their easy breezy menu with sips that include both healthy and party options? You’ll find hand-crafted specialty cocktails like the Ruby Treasure and fresh cold-pressed beverages such as the Green Goddess. There are sandwiches like Just the Ticket and sharable items such as Tunnel Vision. Check out the salad options under the “Yard Greens” section and don’t forget the kid-friendly items like grilled cheese sandwiches.
And what drinks will you find in this duo’s hands?
Bryant said Von-Dobeneck loves anything with watermelon, “because she is the true definition of our slogan, be sweet, stay juicy.”
Von-Dobeneck said Bryant is the epitome of blueberry mint lemonade, which Bryant loves and drinks just about every day.
“I have never met anyone so positive and loved by all,” Von-Dobeneck said. “If there is a sour lemon day—she is making it into lemonade with a smile on her face.”
The Juicy Caboosy is open Wednesday through Sunday. Check them out on Instagram for additional information.
All photos courtesy of Ailsa Von-Dobeneck