Rooted Lakeland owners

A new café in south Lakeland offers a healthy twist on the coffee shop/juice bar with a menu specializing in protein-enhanced shakes, refreshers, acai bowls, waffles, and donuts with a focus on “guilt-free, healthy shakes.”

Rooted Lakeland is a family-owned café at 5327 S. Florida Ave. in the plaza that includes Outback Steakhouse. It was founded by Sheyla Marrero-Gonzalez, 39, her husband George Marrero, 36, and their daughter Anshelle Gonzalez, 19.

“More than ever, we’ve seen the importance of focusing on your health. As the saying goes, wealth is health,” Marrero-Gonzalez said. 

The Dominican family moved to Lakeland three months ago from Miami.

“We’ve been visiting Lakeland for a couple of years now to see family and fell in love with the small town charm and kind people right away. We wanted a change. We love it here,” Marrero-Gonzalez said.

 She opened a similar café with her sister in the Miami area; her sister manages that one while she opened one here.

“Once we decided to move to Lakeland, it was a no brainer that we wanted to build here … After a couple of months of searching with no luck, we found this location in beautiful south Lakeland,” Marrero-Gonzalez explained, adding they plan to open a second location soon.

The owners said they want to be known as a healthy place to go for breakfast or brunch.

Sheyla Marrero-Gonzalez, George Marrero, and Anshelle Gonzalez
Sheyla Marrero-Gonzalez, George Marrero, and Anshelle Gonzalez

“Rooted is like no other coffee shop. We have a variety of your favorite desserts and foods but with a healthy twist. We have the best protein waffles you’ve ever tried. Protein shakes that taste like ice cream … [and] protein mini doughnuts that taste like heaven. [We have] sugar free energy refreshers filled with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals,” Marrero-Gonzalez said.

Some of the other items on the menu are a fried banana shake, which Marrero-Gonzalez described as having 24 grams of protein with a sugar-free caramel drizzle; she said it’s less than 300 calories. Their cookies and waffles are also protein based.

“If we don’t take care of our health, we can experience health issues down the road. But it’s also important to be able to treat yourself,” Marrero-Gonzalez said, adding that her best sellers are the “Twix shake,” the “everything waffle,” and the “passion fruit refresher.”

Before selling refreshers and shakes, Marrero-Gonzalez said she worked in banking and her husband worked in logistics. The family came up with the name Rooted Lakeland based off their belief that “deep roots [provide] a strong foundation to overcome the trials and challenges of life.

“We firmly believe that whatever you sow you reap in life. As long as your roots are deep and wide, you can accomplish anything,” Marrero-Gonzalez said.

Marrero-Gonzalez hopes people will see their café as a space where people can come together to hang out, study and meet others.

The cafe is open from 9-2 p.m. Mon-Fri. and 10-2 p.m. on Saturdays until its grand opening Dec. 4. After the grand opening, the café will be open Mon-Fri, 8-6 p.m., and Saturday, 9-1 p.m.

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Stephanie Claytor has been a broadcast and digital journalist in Lakeland since 2016, covering Polk County for Bay News 9 and currently free-lancing for LkldNow. She is an author of travel and children's books.

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