PDX Nutrition will open at 6824 NE Glisan Street in the former DB Dessert Company location. The cafe is hosting a soft opening on Monday the 10th, beginning at 8 a.m. This supplement-focused shop marks the 20th such location started by owner Hiram Silva. The NE Glisan location is the first in Portland, but other restaurants are anticipated in the coming years.
Most menu items incorporate Herbalife products in the drinks and food options, although non-Herbalife shakes are available. The business positions products as meal replacement drinks or energy-boosting supplements to a regular diet. “Everything comes with protein, ” explained Silva. Even the coffee they serve at this location comes with a choice of added protein. Non-drink items include mango bowls, pineapple bowls, banana coconut bowls, protein waffles, and protein donuts. The donuts are smaller than the traditional dessert and intended as an add-on treat. The menu tries to keep the calorie count low. Meal replacement drinks are 200 to 350 calories depending on the toppings. Energy items are all less than 100 calories.
Silva plans to source ingredients locally when possible, buying the fruit and milk from nearby vendors. Those ingredients are important for customers not interested in consuming Herbalife products. “So some people don’t want to have protein smoothies, but they want to have a milk smoothie. We can always do the whole milk or almond milk with fruit, and basically that’s it.” Said Silva.
Herbalife is a Multi-level marketing company that distributes its products through a network of independent distributors and members. In 2016, the company agreed to “fundamentally restructure” its business as part of a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Shops like PDX Nutrition support the reorganization by providing a sales path for the products that do not include joining a membership or club. However, Silva will explain how someone can get involved in the business if asked. “If somebody ever asked me, ‘how you do this, is there any way that I can do it?’ I will show them, but nobody is obligated to sign up for anything.”
Silva assures his patrons that people do not need to participate with Herbalife to visit the shop. “They don’t have to ever sign up for anything because we are providing mainly the restaurant experience.” He also pointed to his own family’s health to assuage concerns surrounding Herbalife supplements. “I have seen people saying these will cause damage to your health. The only thing I can say is that we, my wife and I, are being consumers for the last 16 years, and my parents for more than 20 years. I have four kids that have been consuming these smoothies since they were little.”
Since 2010, Hiram Silva has opened many shops like PDX Nutrition in the Seattle area. However, he does not currently own most of them. He opens the cafes and trains people on how to manage the shop before selling the business. He explained it is “kind of like a franchise,” and in that way, it continues the MLM strategy of growing a participant’s profit by bringing in other people behind them. This expansion into Montavilla is only the start of what will be a new focus in Oregon. “Our goal is to open at least four locations in the next one to two years in the Portland area.” Said Silva. The first few locations will stay within the family, with his daughters running them after he trains the new staff.
PDX Nutrition is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. New customers receive $2.00 off when placing their first order. Look for a grand opening celebration after the first month in operation.
Update: An entirely different Portland medical provider named PDX Nutrition is run by trained dietitians. That group organized in 2020, two years before the Glisan shop opened. “We are not affiliated with the storefront PDX Nutrition on Glisan,” explained Kate Webb, Registered Dietitian with PDX Nutrition.