Smooth Operator

Customers of the Miami Subs restaurant on Tennessee Street have the opportunity to order from a specialized menu not available at any other location, one that offers a much healthier alternative to soda. Curtis Walker, a physical education student from Tampa, is the owner of Miami Style Smoothies, located inside of Miami Subs. Walker said the idea for this type of operation did not develop overnight. As a lifelong athlete, Walker began taking vitamins and nutritional supplements to increase his performance. During one of his workouts, he thought about the health of blacks, Hispanics and other minorities internationally. “I thought about us, my own people, as far as having high blood pressure. You see it in the paper and hear about it all the time,” Walker said. He describes his new-found love for nutrition as an epiphany. “Suddenly, I said, that’s it! That’s what my major will be, nutrition.” Walker began to evaluate the possibilities for his future. “FAMU didn’t have a program (in nutrition), but they did have a food science program,” he said. But Walker wanted to help people directly, without having to work in a food science plant or company. He decided to major in physical education and minor in food science. With the knowledge he gained from both fields he could tell people what areas of their body they should exercise to get the results they want and also inform them of which types of foods they should eat. Walker’s knowledge of health and nutrition was used to develop his special blend of smoothies. “I don’t use any yogurt, ice cream, or artificial flavors, and my fruit is not frozen,” Walker said. Walker also uses proteins, which he orders directly from the Healthy4ever Nutritional Center. The workers at this plant grow their own vitamins and herbs and test their products everyday for pesticides and bacteria. People like Walker who order their vitamins and nutritional supplements from this Web site get the advantage of three to four-day delivery, ensuring a fresh product. “That’s why my product tastes so good,” Walker added. Sibeko Jywanga, a junior business administration student from Indianapolis, agrees. He said the smoothie is a nutritious substitute for his usual soda. “(The smoothies) are pretty good,” he said. “The Curly Curt flavor makes me feel like I’m on an island or something.” Albert Rodriguez, a junior business student at FSU, said he liked the convenience of going to Miami Subs to order food and getting a nutritional smoothie on the side. Walker has always been a regular customer at Miami Subs. He said he feels that the menu there is a little healthier than some of the other fast food chains. As he became more interested in nutrition, Walker approached the restaurant’s owner Scott McCarthy with various business proposals. One day, when Walker noticed another customer bringing in a chocolate smoothie, he turned to McCarthy and said, “Scott, why don’t you sell smoothies here?” After considering the idea, McCarthy decided to allow Walker to run the smoothie shop out of the franchise. Eventually, Walker intends to sell his smoothies on all HBCU campuses across the country, promoting good health among minorities. “It’s not about the money. It’s about getting my people healthy,” said Walker.

Tamara Davenport can be reached at