Written by Steve Mosco Saturday, 14 September 2013 00:00
Eating is more than just stuffing food into one’s gaping maw; and Dr. B Well Naturally is more than just a market.
At the same location in Plainview since the early 1990s, but under new ownership since 2009, the natural foods and vitamin market offers hot prepared food, juices, smoothies, soups, groceries, produce, vitamins and even health counseling.
And it is that counseling that sets Dr. B Well, 8 Washington Ave., apart from the rest. Owner, pharmacist and healthy lifestyle promoter John Azzarelli dispenses homeopathic knowledge on his loyal customers, some of whom actually bring in their blood work so that he can better understand their physiology.
“I’ll spend a half hour with each patient going over their history and help them figure out what kinds of vitamins they should be taking and what they should be eating,” said Azzarelli, who has been practicing pharmacy for close to 30 years and nutrition for more than a decade, adding that he does not charge customers for his free health consultations. “I’ll spend as much time as needed with them to find the best way to help with their problem.”
Azzarelli owns another store, Natures Apothecary in Brooklyn, and has since 1986. In the summer of 2009, he was looking for another store to run when he heard about Dr. B Well in Plainview. He made his way to the mid-island neighborhood store and tasted the General Tso’s chicken, a salmon burger and sliced soy turkey – and immediately knew he had to own the place and keep the entire kitchen staff onboard.
“I bought the store because of the chef,” Azzarelli said, referring to Chef Karen Bonfield, who has been conceiving the menu at Dr. B Well since 1991. “People say healthy food can’t taste good, and that’s just not true. Our chef is very into spices. And her seasoning makes up for all the garbage others put into food in the service industry.”
And while most eateries’ offerings consist mostly of meat-based protein and a small selection of vegetarian fare, Dr. B Well offers the exact opposite. The store’s huge selection of vegetarian meals ranges from more than 10 varieties of veggie burgers to full hot meals.
But for a plate of the full meal, be sure to get there early. Chef Bonfield puts unveils the meal at around 11 a.m. every day, but by 2 p.m. it is gone. A recent hot meal selection included gluten free dueling creole chicken, wild mushroom tempeh, green curry broccoli and tofu stew.
Azzarelli said his chef arrives at the store to begin prepping food at around 2 or 3 a.m.
“She does a lot of work to get the food out tasting as good as it does,” he said, adding that he takes pride in giving residents the chance to not only eat well, but to eat healthy. “I want to help people stay away from processed food and the garbage that you really don’t want to eat. Genetically modified food is like science fiction food, you don’t want to eat it.”
And Azzarelli, who owns the store with his brother Anthony, said the more his customers learn about the food they eat, the more they choose to eat at Dr. B Well.
“A lot of people have food allergies and intolerances to gluten and dairy,” he said. “But even if you don’t have allergies, you can still make choices to avoid bloating, cramping and the general bad feeling you get when you eat garbage foods.”
The pharmacy, the healthy food with flavor, the groceries – it all boils down to helping people, according to Azzarelli. Growing up, Azzarelli’s spent a lot of time in his father’s shoe store. There, he learned the importance keeping customers loyal with impeccable service and a genuine concern for their well-being.
“My father taught me that at the end of the day, you don’t want to have patients or customers – you want to have friends,” he said. “When you take time to help people, it is amazing how much they appreciate you. I go home a very happy person.”
As for the future of the store, Azzarelli hesitated to give too much away. But he did reveal that he hopes to add more seating, as well as table service, so that more people can benefit from unique food and precise care at Dr. B Well.
“People need a place to sit and eat healthy food,” he said. “I love to see people eat well so that they feel well.”
Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
Famous American painter Georgia O’Keeffe was the topic of discussion at the Plainview Old-Bethpage Public Library on Feb. 20.
Members of the audience were given an in-depth look into the life and artwork of O’Keeffe through a self-made and researched lecture and slideshow by art appraiser Louise Cella Caruso.
O’Keeffe lived for 98 years. Within her lifetime, she was granted the Medal of Arts by Ronald Regan, and in 1938, she was selected as one of the 12 most outstanding women of the previous 50 years. When she passed away she was accorded the honor of a first page obituary in the New York Times.
Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
In celebration of its tenth anniversary, the Kids of Distinction program is offering more scholarships and planning a festive gala that will look back on a decade of supporting our most civic-minded children. The Town of Oyster Bay and the Old Bethpage-based Kids Helping Kids by Kids Way, Inc., the sponsoring entities, are seeking nominations of local youngsters who are standouts in public service for the 2014 awards.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, together with Kids Helping Kids co-founders Robert A.J. Eslick and Philip M. Eslick, kicked off the search for a new batch of “kids of distinction” at the end of February. Nominations are due by May 16. Winners will be recognized at a special ceremony held by the board of trustees on Tuesday, June 17 at 7 p.m. with a citation from the Town and a $2,000 scholarship from Kids Helping Kids.