When Guac Shop founder Danielle Arbinger first tried guacamole as a child, she didn’t see what all the fuss was about. A sad mash of avocado at a chain restaurant didn’t seem too special. When she moved to L.A. for a job with Sony Pictures, her taste buds were introduced to guac’s true potential.
During Beer Fridays, when operations would shut down, the scene gave way to drinks and some truly amazing guacamole. “I became really hooked on it,” Arbinger says of that first good guac. As someone with a knack for deciphering recipes, she tried making it herself. “I took it to parties, potlucks, and work functions. It was always a big hit.”
After moving to Toledo, Arbinger considered selling the velvety green goodness at the Perrysburg Farmers Market. But she was working full-time as a web designer, and the venture seemed too overwhelming to pursue.
“This time last year, though, I decided to go for it,” said Arbinger, who quit her job to make her guacamole ministry a reality.
“The big hurdle for me was that I didn’t have a commercial kitchen,” Arbinger said. She soon discovered NOCK (Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen), a nonprofit incubator that supports emerging culinary start-ups. “These (regulatory compliant kitchens) can’t be found everywhere. Finding one 10 minutes from my house was crazy,” she said.
Guac Shop became a Limited Liability Company on Valentine’s Day, 2018, and Arbinger won a contest soon after that really kick-started her meteoric rise on the guac Richter Scale.
Starwood Retail Partners and the Franklin Park Mall held a contest, the Battle of the Popups, with the prize to the winner being a four-month lease for a kiosk in the mall.
Now she mass produces, with the help of a co-packer in Cleveland, Guac Shop products, available in both Churchill’s locations, The Drug Store of Perrysburg, and Sautter’s Markets. Arbinger is planning on increasing the seven-day shelf life of the guacamole (without adding preservatives) in the new year so that she can place it in stores nationwide.
Team Opa and Team Loco
The Guac Shop’s four flavors are addictive. The original recipe was inspired in L.A. and over the years and through experimentation, she created the spicy version. “It’s the original with a kick,” Arbinger says. “I use serrano peppers to make it spicy.”
There are two options that show her true prowess in mixing flavors: Opamole (Greek-style guac) and Locomole (Creamy-style guac). Arbinger’s four kids normally steer clear of healthy food choices, but they love those two flavors. More specifically, two of the kids are Team Opa and two are Team Loco.
“Opamole is great on omelettes and burgers,” Arbinger said. “Locomole is our top seller. It’s the jalapeno cream guacamole, but it isn’t very spicy because we seed the jalapenos.”
A phenomenal complement to seafood, she recommends it on sautéed scallops, as a dip for crab cakes, and as a dressing for tacos.
Each eight-ounce container holds less than 500 calories so, while delicious, it is a healthy diet addition.
“It’s so versatile,” Arbinger says. “These guacamoles are great for a snack, but they are also a healthy way to add gourmet flavor to your food. I see the reaction people have when they try them, and I’ve gotten so much great feedback.”
Find Guac Shop guacamole at Amigo@guac-shop.com.
guac-shop.com | Call 567-297-0027
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