Ruslana Remennikova has been told she walks like a ’90s era Uma Thurman — specifically the “Kill Bill Vol. 2” Uma, who punches out the coffin’s roof after being buried alive and proceeds to stalk angrily through the cemetery’s shadows.
But Remennikova’s gait is more of a bounce. Each step across the checkerboard tiles of her recently opened business venture, Pulp Fiction Lakeside, reads as intentional.
It’s how she leads her life. She’s a Quentin Tarantino fan because his movies follow that same purposeful energy. Despite this, Remennikova says Pulp Fiction is about her dream of selling cold-pressed juice, not the movie.
“[It’s] what I imagined the juice line to be called,” she says.
It’s been more than a year since she left her corporate chemist job to jumpstart a tinted-teal smoothie truck of the same name. Inspired by the tucked-away coffee scene in Barcelona, she found the perfect spot in January and knew a brick-and-mortar shop was the next step.
“This is the vision that I saw,” she says, reflecting on the five-month renovation. “There’s some magic in there that I can’t explain.”
The wood is an homage to Remennikova’s love for earthy tones, while a white penny tile wall accentuates the 420 square-foot shop. When she first found it, there was only a double oven on the left-hand side.
Whether it be the items on the menu or the European-inspired succulent plants that rest atop the perimeter of wooden shelves, everything has a story.
“I went to Sardinia with two friends and worked on an olive field for three weeks,” Remennikova says. “It was more than just an olive oil project. It was ‘How do we interact with each other? How are we helping each other? What are we really doing?’”
In comes the Sardinian, a tomato spread, anchovy and olive combination on a New York bagel. The Israeli, complete with hummus, olives and feta, speaks to her Jewish background while the Ukrainian, with provolone cheese and kielbasa, honors her family’s migration from Eastern Europe.
The coffee, which includes a signature Ru’s Brew, is supplied by Legacy Roasting Co., while locally baked pastries come from WPA Bakery. Her personal go-to smoothie, Legacy — containing spinach, golden raisins and bananas — is inspired by her father, with Bear Claw being a fan-favorite due to the espresso beans and gritty texture.
Although smoothies remain at its core, Pulp Fiction Lakeside values balance. She says having a healthy relationship with food is about owning what you eat.
“We support doughnuts,” she says excitedly, noting their presence on the menu. “I actually want to put that on a shirt.”
Reflecting on the past few years, she attributes her strength and growth to her dad, who died shortly after they completed an Olympic-length triathlon in 2016.
“It devastated me. I felt like I was robbed,” Remennikova says of losing her best friend. “But I always say he’s around because he is … I’m living through his energy.”
Dealing with adversity provides everyone with a decision, Remennikova says, have a negative outlook or improve your quality of life. She chooses the latter every day, saying it’s the route her dad, a funny, light-up-the-room guy, would choose — perhaps with an apple fritter in hand.
“I’m not a celebrity,” she says. “But I just feel like me providing a healthy smoothie makes someone happy. Or a yummy Mediterranean wrap. ‘Whoa, this is great, thanks.’ OK, that’s already a good response, and I’m happy with that.”
Pulp Fiction Lakeside
5411 Lakeside Ave.
Mondays - Fridays 7 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Saturdays 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.