By Brea Hill
Ruslana Remennikova and her father, Michael Remennikova, with whom she was very close, trained and completed their first Olympic-distance triathlon together in 2016.
“We did it and then he loved it, and he was so happy and I could see how it had changed his life,” Remennikova said. “He was much more positive and happy.”
The happiness was short-lived. Seven days later, her dad died unexpectedly from a heart attack. Her world rattled, Remennikova decided to commemorate his life by doing a full-length Ironman triathlon.
Her goal was to find a race on the exact date of her father’s passing, no matter how far she had to travel. That wound up being halfway across the world, in Port Macquarie, Australia.
It’s no easy feat to train for and complete a 140-mile race, including in this order, without a break: a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride, and a 26.22-mile run.
Remennikova started making smoothies to help with her training and recovery regimen.
“The smoothies just made me feel so good,” Remennikova said.
The more smoothies she made, the better they tasted. That’s when the Virginia Commonwealth University graduate decided to share her love of smoothies with others — and the smoothie truck Pulp Fiction RVA was born.
Now almost three years after that first race with her dad, Remennikova will open a brick-and-mortar storefront in Lakeside that will offer coffee, smoothies and more.
The name isn’t a reference to Quentin Tarantino’s popular 1990s film; it’s a reference to the absence of pulp in her smoothies.
Last year, the truck operated from the beginning of April through October, with the inaugural event held in Goochland. Remennikova decided to open a neighborhood shop after a trip with friends to Sardinia, Italy. They worked in an olive field, and Remennikova said she was inspired tremendously by the community she experienced.
Remennikova knew she wanted to create a community back home in Richmond after backpacking through Sardinia and then visiting her favorite city, Barcelona, Spain.
“I was so inspired by the coffee scenes there,” Remennikova said. “The café sizes are so small, and I just saw them thriving and people excited to be there.”
The 2010 chemistry graduate has gone quite the distance since she took a long swig of reality and decided the corporate world was not for her.
Once back in Richmond, Remennikova landed the opportunity to open a coffee shop.
Larry Hancock, founder of Legacy Roasting Company, will supply the coffee for Remennikova and is working on a special house blend.
Hancock, also a VCU grad, said he is excited to help Remennikova explore new territory.
“I wanted to create a brand that was going to create a legacy for the community,” Hancock said. “I just love how coffee brings people together.”
The options are straightforward. Pulp Fiction food truck currently offers three smoothie choices: Legacy, Bear Claw, and Bitsy’s Circle. Mediterranean and Southwestern wraps are also available.
The Pulp Fiction Lakeside Coffee Shop will nestle into the former Early Bird Biscuit storefront at 5411 Lakeside Ave. Coffee, smoothies, bagels, and pastries will be available initially — with to-go sandwich options planned later.
Lakeside has been without a coffee shop for years but will soon have two. Bright Spot Coffee recently announced plans to open a few doors down from Final Gravity Brewing Co., in the 6100 block of Lakeside Ave.
Neither shop has announced an exact opening date. Pulp Fiction is planning for an early summer debut, Remennikova said.