The Lights' buckwheat pancake with chocolate pudding, fresh fruit and cocoa nibs pairs well with the vanilla bean hot latte.

The Lights

Local juice bar evolves into eatery

By Amy Rogers  |   Photos by Shrimp & Grisettes


Fans of fresh fruit and bountiful beverages have known about The Lights for a good while. Yet, they might not be aware of the changes underway as the juicery matures into a full-fledged café.

According to Eloy Roy, an owner and chef at the busy spot, the goal is “to transform from being recognized for our acai and our smoothies to being recognized for our food — especially local food.”

The Lights had been operating briskly since 2017 and was already starting a planned brand update during 2019. Then in March 2020, the pandemic hit. Like many restaurants, it closed temporarily. Ironically, that pause in service gave the owners time to thoughtfully retool not just the menu but the entire dining experience as well.

The changes may appear subtle, but they’re sure-handed and deliberate. No longer a homey, rustic space, the dining room now has a more polished, modern vibe. The menu has expanded beyond the juice-bar concept to a full complement of salads, sandwiches and bowls, with more entrées planned. The shift from counter to full table service invites diners to partake at a more leisurely pace.

Roy stresses that he sources everything he can from more than two dozen local purveyors. “That’s the big conversation we want to have here, working with a level of quality you find in a fine dining establishment. We want to make that accessible for breakfast and lunch.”

The fun, witty names of dishes wink at pop culture, but there’s serious thought behind them, too, whether it’s a hulking green Dr. Bruce Banner Smoothie or a sweet-potato-studded Eternal Sunshine Grain Bowl.

Simple greens pesto rice combines jade rice, pesto, egg, marinated kale, radish, chèvre and house-made hot sauce. It’s one of several gluten-free and vegetarian options.

The OG Breakfast Sandwich on a buttery, brioche bun is full of avocado, egg and seasonal mushrooms.

Fluffy buckwheat pancakes with chocolate pudding and fresh berries make a sweet brunch indulgence.

The Lights offers a solid selection of traditional and flavored coffee and tea beverages, from matcha to mocha. Pastry chef Elizabeth MacDonald is on board, baking luscious desserts.

Three of four Roy siblings are part of the team. Joining chef Eloy are sisters Emily, a manager, and Melanie, who does the bookkeeping. If their last name sounds familiar, it’s because their father (also named Eloy) is the owner of OGGI, a popular Italian restaurant also in The Shoppes at Ardrey Kell.

About the name: “The Lights” is upbeat and hopeful, but it also conveys a sense of illumination that exists in nature and within us, the younger Eloy explains.

With its flavor-forward menu and eye toward evolution, The Lights will surely continue to claim a bright and vibrant place in the local food landscape.

The Lights

16631 Lancaster Hwy #107

Charlotte, 28277


Flavorful and sweet: The vanilla bean limeade, Himalayan Monk green juice and the orange olive cake with marscapone creme