It’s raining outside. The sky over Groningen is gray and gray, and yet there is one place in the city where the sun always shines: Mahalo! The elegant vegetarian restaurant is located on the corner of Verlengde Grachtstraat – Kerklaan and is an oasis of peace and positivity. Every day again. Owner Bill is busy getting everything ready for the day at the door sale. Unfortunately, due to the closure, Mahalo was not permitted to receive clients – and waving happily from behind the window. “Hello!” It appears after a moment. “The coffee will take some time, because the machine needs to be heated up.” Meanwhile, Belle offers to take a tour of her little paradise on the edge of Noorderplantsoen.
“Look, we’ve been developing everything lately.” The jubilant businessman points to the new counter, the beautiful black floor, and the new kitchen. Nice. “The floor is made of PVC,” she explains. “Very sustainable!” Upstairs, Belle, her friend and co-worker Leon did odd jobs. New toilet, nice sink with old kitchen top and more. Bill: We want everything to be ready before we open it again. We hope that will be so as soon as possible! “
Bill & Leon Mahalo started in the summer of 2019. Prior to that, Anat was at this place, a vegan lunch restaurant where Bell worked for five years before she had a chance to take over. Bell explains that the seed of her own company has already been planted before. “After my school, I traveled to Australia,” Bell says. “There I saw a lot of these types of relaxed and conscious work. I thought, ‘I want that one day too.’ Once I got back to the Netherlands, I first applied for a job in Anat. I went there ten times because I wanted to work there so badly.”
In Anat, Belle soon became “Chef Cake”. In fact, in addition to her work in the business, she even started selling made-to-order donuts. Gluten-free cakes, sugar-free cakes, raw cakes, “plain” cakes. “I also get this gluten and sugar for free from my time in Australia,” she explains. “There I have met people who live very consciously. Yoga, meditation. Basically all things to get the best out of yourself. Healthy eating is also part of that.”
Conscious, but delicious
Bill and Leon also extended that wisdom to Mahalo. From dahl soup and avocado toast to fresh juices and a bouquet bowl filled with crunchy vegetables. Everything is vegan and organic. And it is fun, but without getting around it right away. Although you should definitely not cut out five pieces a day from some muffins. While you actually wish. One of our specialties is ‘golden milk’, a warm drink made with almond milk, coconut milk, and all kinds of Indian spices, Bell says proudly. ‘Very good for your immune system!’ Sure enough, less than three minutes later, the proof of the juice’s popularity. Knocking on the door, the man asked, “One golden milk, please.” “It’s coming,” Bell nodded gently.
At the moment, it is only eaten in Mahalo, but people still often know where to find the place. Especially due to its location, right next to the park, it is a popular place to get a juice, coffee, a piece of cake, or a sandwich. Then eat food somewhere on the lawn. “I still can’t wait for things to open again,” says Bill. “Not only is our balcony can open again, but I also yearn to take another balcony for myself.” Plus, the positivo misses a little bit of its hostess role. Bill: “We have an ideal place here where I want to make people especially happy. Of course, this works better if it allows us to open again.”
Finally: Mahalo, what does that actually mean? “Thank you, Hawaiian,” Bell explains. We chose this name because we are actually very grateful to have had the opportunity to run a business here. And gratitude is actually the key word here. After all, it leads to positivity. “
Verlengde Grachtstraat 1, 9717GD Groningen
It is now closed