“Eat Healthy, Live Well” is the motto and mantra of one of the newest restaurants here in Fountain Hills, Papaya’z Crepe and Juice bar.
Papaya’z is owned and operated by Karen Mena Sanchez, a Fountain Hills resident who previously worked as a financial advisor for 20 years.
Tired of banking and wishing to spend more time with her family, Sanchez decided to follow her dreams and open the first Papaya’z in Fountain Hills.
Like their motto suggests the Papaya’z menu is focused on providing healthy options.
“I have been vegan for many years, so I wanted to try and bring to Fountain Hills a place with fresh ingredients along with vegan- and vegetarian-friendly options,” Sanchez said. “We have new ingredients brought in every two days to keep it fresh. I think the world is going through so many changes and I truly believe we are how we eat.”
As focused as they are on health, Sanchez said that Papaya’z doesn’t sacrifice taste.
“We are always working hard to try and bring a good taste to our clients, but at the same time giving them something healthy,” Sanchez added said.
Sanchez said she is also open to changing up the menu from time to time, whether it is by customer suggestion or just to keep things fresh.
“We already changed our menu once, after experimenting,” Sanchez said. “We added proteins in our smoothies for people who workout in the morning or want a little boost of energy. We added espresso, too, because a lot of people were asking for them.”
In fact, starting in the new year, Papaya’z will be adding all-natural energy drinks to the menu.
Sanchez said she has been interested in food since she was a little girl.
“Food has always been a passion for me,” Sanchez said. “I always remember both of my grandmas in the kitchen, and one is more European and the other is more Latina. So, they have two distinct tastes.”
This cultural fusion continues to influence Sanchez and the Papaya’z menu to this day.
“I travel a lot, so I try to bring different combinations from different parts of the world,” Sanchez said. “I think every country has its own flavor and texture.”
Papaya’z is located at 16845 E. Avenue of the Fountains.