For recent college graduate Brooke Lambert, the 2020 pandemic job market could have been terrifying.
It was, however, the perfect opportunity to open her own business.
This Temple University graduate identified a need for grab-and-go, healthy food including smoothies, bowls, gluten-free, vegan and more in her hometown of Havertown, Pa.
Now, at just 24 years old, Lambert opened her second Mangos & More location, this one on the Ocean City Boardwalk.
“Opening in Ocean City has been amazing. I wanted to bring more healthy options to the shore along with a distinctly summer fun feel,” Lambert says.
Mangos & More in Ocean City serves smoothies, bowls, breakfast selections, coffee and frozen yogurt.
The menu at Mangos & More has been particularly influenced by Lambert’s travel to Florida.
“The variety and availability of fresh fruit in Florida is endless, and that’s where I had my first acai bowl,” Lambert says.
Lambert has made a point to incorporate this tropical influence in Mangos & More with her knack for creating fun recipes.
“The Mango Tango smoothie is one of our most popular items,” she says. “We have people come in every day for it.
The Mango Tango ($7.50 for 16 ounces, $8.50 for 24 ounces) smoothie is a deliciously refreshing blend of mango, banana, pineapple, orange juice and a splash of agave.
Their most popular bowl is a toss-up between The Boardwalk Bowl ($12), a pure acai base topped with granola, strawberries, blueberries, banana and a Nutella drizzle, and the Aloha Bowl ($12), a half pitaya base and half coconut frozen yogurt topped with granola, strawberries and mango.
For your sweet tooth, try the birthday cake frozen yogurt with birthday cake crumbles, rainbow sprinkles and whipped cream. However, if you avoid dairy and gluten, try dairy-free vanilla almond milk froyo topped with gluten-free Oreo cereal.
Their most popular breakfast item is their avocado toast ($7.50) with smashed avocado seasoned with everything seasoning and red chili pepper flakes on whole wheat toast. The avocado toast can be topped with an egg. For a gluten-free breakfast selection, try Mangos & More’s oatmeal bowl ($7.50) as gluten-free oats are topped with blueberries, mango and a honey drizzle.
Lambert graduated college in 2020 summa cum laude with a degree in kinesiology with an emphasis on health and nutrition.
“I’ve always been focused on a healthy living and a clean diet, and I took several courses on this at school,” Lambert says.
When graduation came, however, the job market was bleak. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the overall unemployment rate for young workers ages 16 to 24 jumped from 8.4 percent in 2019 to 24.4 percent in 2020, and this group faced a disproportionate loss of jobs due to COVID-19.
“I spent a year thinking seriously about what I was going to do when I graduated,” Lambert says.
Always knowing she wanted to own her own business – she entertained opening a gym, hence the kinesiology degree – school and circumstances gave Lambert a slight change of heart. Since she worked in the food industry during high school and college as a waitress, bartender and food prepper, her thoughts turned to a restaurant.
“I’ve always loved being creative with recipes, whether it was cooking or mixing drinks,” Lambert says.
When she saw an available storefront near a gym and dance studio, the idea for Mangos & More began to take shape.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pull off opening a new business during a pandemic, but I did,” Lambert says.
Not only was Lambert able to pull it off, but she’s been able to thrive. Lambert won “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” from the Delaware Chamber of Commerce in April 2021. Her original location also won several awards from Main Line Today, including Reader’s Choice: Food and Drink, Best of the Mainline and Western Suburbs, and Critic’s Choice: Best Health Food Restaurant.
“I love owning my own business. I have a lot of fun, but it’s extremely difficult,” says Lambert, who currently works 12 hours a day and splits her time between both locations, attending to staffing needs, ordering ingredients and creating the menus.
She also wants to support local businesses, serving bagels from Hot Bagels & More along with House Cup Coffee, roasted in Havertown near her original location.
More about Mangos
Lambert hopes to remain open through the fall and to supplement her summer boardwalk income with catering.
“We recently did a kid’s Baby Shark birthday party where they served our baby shark bowl as a healthier alternative to cake,” says Lambert, who is gearing up to cater a yoga and brunch event on the beach.