Montclair Resident Starts Fundraiser for Vegan Restaurant

hyacinth mills
Mills (center) receives $5,000 from Rising Tide Capital

Montclair resident Hyacinth Mills is a raw food chef, vegan, holistic nutritionist and the mom of two vegan boys. Through her company, New Life Journeys, Mills promotes a healthier way of life through personal chef services, cleanses and healthy lifestyle education.

She also sells some of her raw, vegan food–Hyacinth’s Macaroons and Hyacinth’s Raw Granola–at the Montclair Farmers’ Market and select Whole Foods stores.  Her ultimate goal, however, is to expand her business to include a vegan restaurant in Montclair.

“There are many health-related activities available in Montclair, from cycling, yoga, fitness centers, pilates, zumba etc.,” she says. “But what is missing in this town is a location where you can get a fresh pressed juice or a superfood shake that’s organic, a place to go out for lunch or dinner and have a gourmet style vegan or raw food dish to eat, that’s free of gluten or soy and that has healthy meals for children.”

Last year, Mills entered the Start Something Challenge, a challenge by Rising Tide Capital to help New Jersey’s entrepreneurs actualize their business initiatives. In December, she learned she was one of the lucky winners, receiving $5,000 to go toward her restaurant, which she hopes to open in Montclair sometime this summer.

The restaurant, which will be named FLOW (an acronym for Fresh Live organic and Whole, plant based cuisine), will serve organic, locally-sourced vegan fare–created by a “world-renowned vegan chef,” she tells us–as well as a juice bar, grab-and-go meals, and a store. It will also offer detox programs.

“FLOW will be unique in that it will be gluten-, soy- and dairy-free, serve gourmet raw foods, organic fresh pressed juices and feature an educational component to help people stay on track even when they are not dining at FLOW,” Mills says.

This week, Mills began a fundraiser on Indiegogo (which includes a promotional video) to help her secure a location for the restaurant and to purchase equipment, appliances, small wares and furnishings. Initially, she is hoping to raise $25,000. The campaign will run for six weeks.

“I am reaching out to the community to help make FLOW a reality, a project for the community, by the community and beyond. We are currently seeking and working with investors and will be personally contributing to the project,” she says. “We are working hard to open our doors this summer and look forward to serving the Montclair community and surrounding counties.”


  1. If one doesn’t have the capital to open the business, its unlikely they will have the capital to keep it running during its initial money losing months. To many dreamers think they will open the doors to immediate profitability–ain’t gonna happen. But if they add corned beef on rye I might consider it.

  2. I completely agree. Opening a restaurant is not a “community project”. Also, the name Flow for a restaurant is gross.

  3. Everyone should strive to eat a healthy diet. That said, food is meant to be eaten, meaning chewed, and cooking is often a GOOD thing. I’m so tired of people thinking that drinking kale through a straw is healthy or only eating nut products will be beneficial in the long run.

  4. And when are we going to get over the gluten “problem”? How is it that so many people now say they have allergies to gluten? Put down the Wonder Bread. Don’t eat bread that comes in plastic bags and you’ll be fine.

  5. Agreed, JG. Very few people actually have an real allergy/sensitivity to gluten and the only way to know is to get tested. Many more people have a wheat allergy (like my DH) and that is something else entirely.

    Although there are a gazillion gluten-free products today, much more than 10 years ago, there are only a handful that really taste good. I have baked with both gluten-free and enriched wheat flour and sorry to say, the wheat flour wins every time. Not just with taste, but the way it handles during the baking prep. Plus, the gluten-free goodies turn hard as a rock in day or two.

    I also agree that we humans eat way too many processed wheat products. Our bodies were not designed for it and they are a cause of many of our health ills.

  6. Exactly, MM. Don’t buy food in packages. Eat as much real food as possible. Gluten is not a problem for the vast majority of people, but the kind of bread they eat is awful and the gluten in a lot of processed foods isn’t great because of what else is also in the package (too much sugar and salt). And you have to EAT your greens. The digestive process begins with chewing.
    Take your kale or escarole and wilt it in a pan with some olive oil, garlic, pepper and a little sea salt. It tastes better that way and you actually absorb more nutrients and get the benefits of the fiber. Food fads are not always good for you even if they appear to be “healthy” fads.

  7. JG, well said…..Hey, I just discovered Portlandia, great show…. how good are the vegan cupcakes at Pink Frosting …. when will the Rangers get on track…. will Kreider get sent down….whole foods in Bloomfield sorry but it’s not happening….how about that brooke shields…do kids still eat pop rocks…kim and kanye make a cute couple…lego’s racist? say it’s ain’t so… the new mcdonalds fish bites will be bigger than the Mc Gratin Croquette …why do i feel like larry king …

  8. I would think if there was such a high demand for this type of place then Go Lightly would have had piles more customers.

  9. I like to start a fundraiser to get a Ruths’ Chris Steakhouse where Charley Brown’s used to be. Who’s with me?

  10. jerseygurl, the huge increase in the number of associates I have who claim to have a “gluten allergy” is such a huge pet peeve of mine. I’m not dismissing that there are actually people out there that suffer from this, but it’s become some sort of fad diet/affliction.

  11. If people want to contribute, fine. Good luck with the proposed establishment. Veggie Heaven always seems to be doing a brisk business.

    But please, no “cleanses.”

  12. Good for you, Hyacinth! This is wonderful news. I wish you all the best, and I know my family will be regulars, as we already love your delicious food. Dina Aronson

  13. I once ate in a raw food restaurant, to shut up a severely deluded friend. It seemed as if the entire menu consisted of crudites in one form or another. And none of it turned out to be terribly interesting tastewise.

    This kale juice thing is going to be short-lived, I tell you. And there are far better business ideas to invest in. An Amway franchise, say.

  14. Here’s a great piece on cooked food:

  15. I agree with Dina Aronson, who states: “Good for you, Hyacinth! This is wonderful news. I wish you all the best, and I know my family will be regulars, as we already love your delicious food. Dina Aronson”
    Good luck, Hyacinth. I will contribute to your indiegogo site, but even if I couldn’t afford to send a penny, I would still be sending you good wishes. It takes incredible heart and soul to start a business, to believe in it, and to make it survive. For having the guts and the energy to take that risk and bring what I personally think will be a welcome addition to the town’s roster of wonderful eateries, I salute you. Don’t be afraid. You can do it.

  16. Right on, Hyacinth! Love to splurge on those yummy macaroons of yours from WF and will enjoy eating at your place. I, for one, miss Go Lightly. Thanks a lot for giving our community another healthy (and compassionate) dining option, and good luck with your indiegogo.

  17. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. This is not an easy road to take and I am working hard to achieve my goal and have a great team of people who support me in making this happen.

    There are many great restaurants in Montclair, and I am looking forward to being a part of this industry, serving the community and providing a great experience. I am creating something unique that will not only provide great tasting, high quality food, but that will contribute to the health and well being of the community.

  18. Congrats on the restaurant.
    My son has severe food allergies; gluten, wheat, dairy, peanuts…etc.
    Whenever we eat at a restaurant we have ask for a manager to inquire about food preparation and ingredients. We’d love to go to a place where it’s relatively safe for my little guy.
    We’ll be visiting very soon!!!

  19. she is a resident of montclair? hasnt she done any research. there are vegan options at some restaurants in this town already. she mentioned montclair doesnt have her so called idea? theres blended beverage, hls and the new and my fav le salbuen which covers all her so called great ideas never mind the place is beautiful. they do a hand made organic vegan patty to die for either on gluten free bread or a tasty balthazar bread. i go there for the fresh pressed organic orange juice and my wife gets her organic celery, carrot, apple juice. they have gluten free organic pastas , quinoa porridge with grass- fed milks plus they even carry goat, soy and almond milk. never mind the 2 husband and wife chef team changing the menu on a daily basis including the raw vegan organic radish salad this week. plus they have a terrific menu for non-vegans including grass fed meats and local eggs, cheeses and more. just annoyed with people wanting to open something they thought doesnt exist. even across from them the red eye has some vegan options we had for brunch.

  20. No matter what your dream concept is $25,000 is not going to get you there. Under capitalization is the number one cause of failure in this business . You need 3 years startup.

  21. its really exciting to have a dream but to have a dream and rely on peoples contributions just doesnt seem right. i know many business owners who had the same dream but did it on their own, took a second mortgage, applied for as many credit cards as they can get to get this going. if its your dream then you need to take risks if you believe in it.

  22. Thank God for Hyacinth,
    I don’t want to speak for all of Montclair, but I really need this place. It’d be terrific to not have to go to the city for a good healthy vegan dinner out. Sure, there are vegan options in montclair but not all the options are in one place which is what it sounds like Flow would be offering.
    I’m happy to have the opportunity to support you in this honorable endeavor.

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