For years, Black Bear Burritos and 123 Pleasant St. have been staples of the Morgantown community. Black Bear, known for its Appalachian/locavore-style vibe, has meshed well with 123’s music scene, but some recent additions may have made the street the coolest, hippest part in town.
First came Real Juice Bar, a family-owned café that opened on Pleasant St. in March 2014.
“My mom had always been juicing. She juiced when she went through chemotherapy for breast cancer, because she definitely contributes part of her recovery to juicing,” Morgan Maas, daughter of the store owners, told The Daily Athenaeum in 2014. “We have been living this healthy lifestyle for so long. We said, ‘Morgantown could really use a juice bar.’”
But why did the family open their store on Pleasant St.? Was it coincidence or to help spark what is now the “place to be” in Morgantown?
“I looked all over downtown,” Real Juice owner Ruth Maas said. “High Street is High Street. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s sort of turning into what Sunnyside used to be. Pleasant Street has this really cool vibe… It’s far enough away from campus that it’s a little quieter. It’s not so crazy.”
Ruth Maas credited the rise of Pleasant Street’s scene to LJ Guliani, the owner of many of Pleasant St.’s buildings.
“(Guliani) was looking for businesses that were kind of all alike,” Ruth said.
The Mountain People’s Co-Op moved from University Ave. to Pleasant St. late last summer, adding another unique, alternative choice to the area.
“We truly care about the products that we carry, and we care about our members,” Assistant Manager Cher Lindquist said last fall. “[There are] a lot of people we know on a first-name basis… You’re not going to get that at a normal store.”
This tight bundle of locations, along with the Apothecary Ale House right around the corner, have carved out a nice, down-to-earth area among the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city.