Local friends fulfill a lifelong dream by opening restaurantSep 08, 2022 12:26PM ● By Liz Craker
Fulfilling a lifelong dream, friends Madeleine Chuy and Elizabeth Allende recently opened their Latin-infused gourmet shaved ice shop, Just-A-Craving, located at 2594 W. 4700 South in Taylorsville.
Chuy, who immigrated to Utah from Peru when she was 17 years old, said that she had always wanted to be an entrepreneur and had studied business management in college. Allende and her family moved to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 4 years old, and she has always had a dream of owning her own restaurant.
“When Elizabeth and I met we knew we wanted a restaurant that would be a hangout place,” Chuy said. The pair started their dream with a food truck in 2016.
“The first year was basically a trial of figuring out what we wanted to sell,” Allende said. The team started out in Bountiful with small gourmet items such as chili cheese steak and Peruvian dishes for about six months.
The pair then closed for the winter months to revamp their menu and plan for a year round menu. In the winter the colder weather was harder to deal with so they started to think about summer menus when they decided on the idea of shaved ice. “As a child I remember we had shaved ice with different flavors in Mexico,” Allende said.
Chuy recalled that in Peru they had the same although the ice, flavor and textures were different than what is available in the U.S. After brainstorming together, Chuy started creating their special flavors with fruit chunks and items in a presentation not found elsewhere. “We were on a sugar-high trying everything and all sorts of combinations,” Allende said.
“Bountiful was the right spot to start in 2017. It helped us figure out what we wanted to serve and how we wanted it to look,” Chuy added.
In 2018, they moved the operation to Rose Park in a small shack, and in February 2022 they had a soft opening at the Taylorsville store front with a menu that includes winter items such as apple cider, teas and hot chocolate.
Family and friends helped get the store ready by painting the interior and building the countertop. “We were there with what felt like 24-hour days,” Chuy said. “We worked so hard we lost all the calories we ate during the summer,” Allende said.
The pair report that business has been steady even though the business is new to the Taylorsville community. “As soon as our customers found out, they supported us and came to Taylorsville,” Chuy said. “Every day we get new customers. People from Ogden and Provo are coming all the way to Taylorsville to support us.”
They are now planning for coming years of growth during which they hope to be able to cater for birthday parties and company events. They have their goals set on opening stores in Provo and Ogden.
"It’s been a good ride, and anything that happens is for a reason,” Allende said.
“It’s been a lot of hard work for sure,” Chuy added.
“I am very proud of our business. It is a dream come true for me. I am grateful and blessed,” Chuy said.
“It is a dream come true for me, too. I worked at McDonald’s in high school and always thought of owning my own coffee shop or restaurant,” Allende said.
When Chuy graduated from high school in Peru, her brother, who lived in Salt Lake City, encouraged her to come live with his family to learn English and go to college. “Salt Lake City is different. I am from the city of Lima, Peru...this isn’t like the late city life noise, lights and people. It was a hard transition, but it has been awesome. Now it is home to me. This is where I got my first check, my first car and my first house,” she said. And now Utah is home to her first business. λ