Carrot Express: Wholesome Food (And a Car Wash?)

Categories: First Bites
Lee Klein
The proud Laufer family behind the counter at Carrot Express: Jessica, Mario, Sara and Manuel.
"Eat hummus and get gas" might be an appropriate marketing slogan for Carrot Express, a health food counter located in the Texaco station at Alton Road and 18th Street in South Beach. Or maybe not. Some might misinterpret this as a reference to the gastro-intestinal effects of garbanzo beans, as opposed to the notion of filling your car with fuel while enjoying a nutritious snack.

"Cleanse yourself with wheat grass while your car gets washed" could be an alternative motto. Some patrons seem to enjoy sitting at the Carrot Express counter and sipping a "power shot," fresh-squeezed fruit or vegetable juice, or a tropical fruit smoothie while their automobile goes through the car wash just outside the door.

"Tasty salads, sandwiches, spinach pies, and fruit juices from the same folks who brought you Gourmet Carrot" is definitely the most accurate way of putting things, even if it doesn't quite roll off the lips like poetry. Gourmet Carrot's own tagline "Serving wholesome food since 1994," isn't bad either, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Mario Laufer, who operates Carrot Express with his parents Manuel and Sara, does tell the whole story behind this new venture. It begins on New Year's Eve, 2012.

Lee Klein
Fresh tuna salad wrapped in whole wheat spinach pie.
The Gourmet Carrot on West Avenue had been sold ("the recipes, but not the name"), and Mario was "doing nothing" at the time. He had worked in three different restaurants, "But it wasn't for me." So he goes to this New Year's Eve party, "and my cousin was there with her husband, who owns the Texaco station. He told me about the idea of setting something up in a station. I met him here the next day, and he wanted to show me this other gas station he had in mind. But this is my neighborhood, I've got four kids, I didn't want to travel far. I looked around -- they used to have couches back here -- and I said 'This is it for me.' He says 'Fine.' That started my 2012 incredibly."

Mario, Manuel and Sara work behind the counter together. Mario was born in Cuba, but his family moved to New York when he was four years old; they moved to Miami in 1971, when he was 12. That was also the age when Mario became a vegetarian. "I had cut a chicken's head off, and that was it. I eat fish, but haven't eaten chicken or meat for 40 some odd years."

Location Info

Carrot Express

1840 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

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Yes,quite agree with you BistroMd that People gets hungry while traveling and it'salso a great utilization of time too as if you are out to get your car washedthen why don't have some food with family members. This way you will be able tocomplete 3 tasks, first you will not be hungry anymore, second you will getyour car in the meantime and the third and important one that you will spendsome quality time with your family as it has became quite rare in today's busylife to go out together often.


Delicious food! Gasoline station with a mini restaurant? Is amazing. Great marketing strategy. :)


Eatery and gas station in one. Great idea. People usually get hungry when travelling. 

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