This ‘protein pub’ sells $101 açaí bowls and salmon burgers sprinkled with gold—not a typo

“At first, I thought we’ll offer these things for $100. But then I realized I had made a mistake; the number 100 is too aggressive. I might as well just go to $1000. I brought it up to $101—Google it, you’ll see its astrological significance. And people will buy it, for sure, as long as they see value in it.”

These are the words of BMORE Protein Pub owner Rodrigo Inacio, a 43-year-old former bodybuilder who has created a pseudo-cafe-and-diner space on the ground floor of luxury apartment high rise The Current in Downtown Long Beach. He also happens to live eight floors above his “pub” in the very same building after moving to the Golden State from Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Inacio said this after selling $303 worth of items that included just three things on the receipt, each ordered from his pub’s “101” menu: One was a cup of the treasured Kopi Luwak coffee, a longtime Indonesian luxury that is procured by collecting the fermented coffee beans ingested and defecated by the Asian palm civet. The other two things were açaí bowls, each of which included a frozen shot of Kopi Luwak espresso and activated charcoal sorbet and powder. And all three were sprinkled with 24K edible gold.

These options join less expensive but not necessarily cheap options: CBD-infused quesadillas and grilled cheeses for $24. Regular açaí bowls and smoothies for $14. Cups of coffee for $7.10…

So, I asked the question, again: “Are you sure this is what people are seeking? Did you do any research on who is in the area and if this is even desired?”

“Listen here, Brian. If you’re afraid, people will sense it. You can’t look hesitant, people will sense it. You have to be confident: offer them the ambiance, the smell, the color—that’s what they’re seeking. It’s like a Porsche versus a Corolla, right? They both take you from Point A to Point B. They both use gasoline. But why with the Corolla when—if you just save some money, work on your credit score—you can buy a Porsche?”

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BMORE Protein Pub owner Rodrigo Inacio in Long Beach Thursday, Dec 5, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Inacio is, first and foremost, obsessed with positivity in a life that has been punctured by events both within and outside his control.

He is quite soft and “all about love,” as he often says, every drink and plate he extends across the marble counter inside is accompanied with a vocalized, “Made with love” and, if you order a smoothie, the top of your drink will have a message on it like, “New day, new possibilities.”

Much like his avatar and spirit animal, the rhino, he is “always moving forward, a pretty docile creature who doesn’t bother anyone unless you bother him and then he comes charging.”

He harnesses a vibe that constantly exudes positivity and eschews doubt. “The universe is a mirror, Brian,” he said. “What you give it is what it returns.”

It’s an aura that mixes the Law of Attraction a la “The Secret” with what he calls the “Law of Vibrations,” or sensing what someone is giving back.

“Everyone gives off vibrations,” Inacio said. “It’s about feelings. Like I knew you were approaching the restaurant. Everyone talks about the Law of Attraction but higher than the Law of Attraction is the Law of Vibrations. If I am serving something and I am afraid, the customer will feel that without them even knowing it. Like, if you step into a Bugatti dealership, I mean, if you’re looking at the man about to sell you a Bugatti, you know that man can’t be afraid to tell you the price of the car—you follow me?”

Confident in his prices and value, Inacio also connects these “vibrations” with the milestones he and his wife have set. They hope to achieve things with their BMore brand, like the BMore Happy Foundation which will, firstly, attempt to focus on those experiencing homelessness (“It’s real around here. There’s a constant presence”) by creating a mobile shower so that “those on the street can have some dignity before starting their day.”

And this isn’t to say Inacio hasn’t been through tough situations: the son of Brazilian parents, Inacio has been working constantly to build his brand which comes from his wife Bianca Moreira’s artist name, “MrsBMore.” He says he fell into a deep depression that led to obesity before discovering the benefits of fitness, then, after building up his brand of supplements and even an attempt at clothing, he focused on health cafes—spaces that serve smoothies, supplements, bowls, etc.—which became the sole focus of BMore Cafe.

And then Hurricane Irma hit.

“I cried for a full day when I lost my shop,” Inacio said. “And then my wife asked me, ‘Are you done?’ And I was. And we knew it was time to go, because constantly rebuilding your life doesn’t create happiness.”

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BMORE Protein Pub owner Rodrigo Inacio places a positive message ontop of his smoothies in Long Beach Thursday, Dec 5, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

California became Rodrigo and Bianca’s focus. They first visited Orange County, living in Santa Ana while scouting everywhere from Laguna to Newport to Huntington Beach.

“Huntington Beach felt a bit like South Beach,” Inacio said. “Lots of tourists and people coming and going… I want to build more of a relationship with the community and I knew [Orange County] wasn’t it. But when I came to Long Beach, I saw a charm.”

Inacio points out that Long Beach is the type of place where post office workers and random people on the street alike say hi. The common reaction to our city: It’s nice, comforting and filled with great people though a large portion are working class. And when faced with the question of whether his prices will appeal to the masses, let alone be accessible to them, Inacio once again goes positive.

“You gotta be certain of the value you offer,” he said. “At the end of the day, money has no value whatsoever. Money has absolutely no value. It’s a piece of paper. What gives money value is what it allows you to do, the experiences.”

BMORE Protein Pub is located 707 E. Ocean Blvd. in Suite D

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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