Tytianna Harris is Navajo and originally from Page, Ariz., a border town located right off the western edge of Dinétah. After moving to Albuquerque, Tytianna began to realize an old dream. She acquired a beautiful ’70s trailer, recreated it as a food truck and, last summer, began selling her nutritional and delicious juices, smoothies, acai bowls and more in front of Little Bear Coffee Co. in Nob Hill. Tytianna’s focus on seasonal juices and smoothies—often enhanced with ingredients like lion’s mane, goji berries and hemp seeds—has created a good deal of buzz around town. But Untitled Juice Bar recently hit a roadblock. When Tytianna took her charming mobile unit in for some re-paneling work, she learned that it needed some significant repairs to get up and running again. We at The Paper. spoke with Tytianna about what drove her to create Untitled, her plans for the future and what it will take for her to get back to offering Albuquerque her healthy and nutritious food and drink.
The Paper.: What inspired you to start up a business focusing on natural juices and healthy food options?
Tytianna Harris: Growing up my diet consisted of what I feel like is pretty normal lower-income household grocery items. A lot of processed foods. There were some fresh vegetables, but I wouldn’t say there were a lot of organic options. My family would go to the Bashas’ or Walmart for pretty much everything. Luckily, we lived in a town that did have grocery stores. A lot of my family members had to commute an hour out just to get their groceries. There wasn’t a scarcity of food, but there was, for sure, a lack of healthy options. When I was older and started traveling more, I made a lot of friends who were able to care about their diets. Some even owned health-conscious businesses like vegan restaurants and juice bars. I started reading and doing my own research to learn more about how I could be better nutrition-wise, diet-wise, within my own life. And I thought that, if I can become educated on this stuff, I would love to share it all with my family and friends. I just really want to make it accessible. In my community where I grew up and where my family is, there are no options like what I have started doing with Untitled Juice Bar here in Albuquerque.
What do you think sets Untitled apart from the juice and smoothie chains?
It really comes down to my mission and my goals. I want Untitled to be a community-oriented entity. I never wanted my goal to be a financial one. I’d love to see this juice bar grow into a self-sustaining, farm-to-smoothie juice bar, getting to where I don’t have to worry so much about importing fresh produce, which can have a really adverse effect on the environment, pollution-wise.
I also strive to be aware of others’ health conditions. One way we respond to something like diabetes is by using low glycemic sweeteners such as dates or coconut sugar. Coming from a holistic standpoint, we want our beverages to be more than just, you know, a beverage or a food item. We want you to be able to get your daily vitamins in a juice or a smoothie that also happens to be super delicious.
How does being an Indigenous-owned business influence your mission with Untitled?
Well, to be honest, starting in Albuquerque wasn’t really intentional. The plan was always to move back to Arizona, and to the Navajo Nation, to open up this juice bar. But with the uncertainty we are all facing [in the pandemic], it seemed like staying here was the right move. And luckily, I have great friends and a great community here in Albuquerque. I mean, the Fox brothers here at Little Bear have been so helpful, allowing me to park my juice bar in their parking lot and sell my stuff right in the center of Nob Hill. It was a really great start and allowed me to get a feel for how the interactions were going to go. The goal is still to get back to my homeland someday and even start a farm. But I don’t have any sort of schedule. The real dream, even if it is quite a ways off, is to expand Untitled to Indigenous communities all over the Southwest that don’t really have the steady access to healthy food choices because of systemic [food] disparities. If we can create a self-sustaining business with both the juice bars and farms producing fresh fruit and veggies, I really do think creating local chapters could be on the horizon.
Is there an item from your menu that you’ve been enjoying lately, or that you’ve noticed your customers really feeling?
So, we do acai bowls, topped with all sorts of things, like cacao nibs, granola, fresh fruit. I feel like a lot of people enjoy these as they are more substantial then most of the juice options.
I would say my favorite, right now, has got to be the carrot, pineapple, orange blend. It’s all fresh pressed, and not only is it very lively and satisfying but is good for the immune system as well.
Honestly, I feel kind of strange at times telling customers, like, “Oh, this is a diuretic or this helps you with inflammation, or this blend can help with detoxifying or clarity. I mean, I am happy to answer questions and guide people to the best option for them. But I’m not into offering a bunch of advice, unsolicited. All fruits and vegetables are good for you, as long as you are getting some balance. I wouldn’t suggest anyone just strictly eat smoothies and drink juices. But these really are a great way to get your vitamins—often in higher doses than one would from simply eating them. You know, you can juice like 20 carrots and get like a cup of juice. Eating 20 carrots in a sitting is not for everyone.
You’ve been getting attention on your Instagram account, which is awesome, with your GoFundMe campaign that is aimed at getting your mobile unit back up and running, so you can continue with your vision. What needs to be done and how can the community support you in all of this?
First and foremost a huge thank you to the community and to those who have helped out but don’t even live here. It has made it so much more of a manageable ordeal. Once one panel came off, the repair guy was just like, “Oh, your wood is rotted, you really need to reframe the whole thing to do this right.” The problems have turned out to be really widespread. It needs reframing, repaneling, all this electrical work. This means labor costs, but also materials like wiring and new steel panels. Most importantly, I need to ensure that the kitchen is safe and hygienic. The support from when we just got going until now has been tremendous; from sharing the posts to actually donating or even sending your good thoughts. I want to keep the momentum going so we can hopefully get back up and running in the next month.
And be sure to try Harris’ healthy, delicious items at Little Bear and beyond as soon as she can get the spot back up and running!