Three years toiling in finance was more than enough to convince Joe Pagliaro, co-owner of Surry Hills salad bar Verd, that he was in the wrong industry. “I’m good with numbers, but the money world wasn’t for me. I went back into hospitality, which is what I was doing when I was studying at uni”. He not only found his feet again he also found his now business partner and girlfriend, Grace Watson. “We both worked in hospitality and our passion for healthy food was what brought us together”.

Beginning with a coffee bar in Bondi and then in Martin Place, the resourceful duo eventually opened a small vegan café in Kent Street that focussed on sugar-free, dairy-free and raw food. After a couple of years they opened at the new Barangaroo site, which is when Verd came to be. Then in November of last year they expanded to Surry Hills.

Joe recalls, “A friend who works in Surry Hills text me a photo of the building and for lease sign saying he needed to have my smoothies nearby, so we moved in!”

They’re a cashless business, with 30% of their customers ordering through the Verd app. The benefit in using the app is that you not only save time, you also get to enjoy $1 off their ever-evolving and always delicious menu. One lunchtime favourite is the OG Macro, consisting of all kinds of plant-based ingredients like kale, baby spinach, sprouted adzuki beans and much more which can then be followed with a Commando Ed smoothie.

Grace tells us, “We’re about making healthy food accessible, making sure everyone knows what they’re getting. And not even noticing that it’s vegan, but instead that it’s just a really nice bowl of food”.