Is juice the new coffee? You might think so, given the amount of newfangled juice bars popping up around town. But not all juiceries are created equal: some employ a cold-pressing technique, while others use the traditional centrifugal process that relies on blades. Read on to learn about five juice joints offering a virtual rainbow of healthy refreshments.
The Story: Keith Pegues is a dedicated vegan who wanted to educate people about juicing, specifically the benefits of raw, unpasteurized produce. He opened the first Peeled in 2010.
Source: Organic, local and seasonal as much as possible.
Process: All of the cold-pressed juice is blended at the “micro-juicery” and then transported to the Chicago and Evanston locations. The team relies on cold-press juicers to slowly extracts the juice, without jeopardizing all the natural vitamins and minerals. All of juice is bottled raw and unpasteurized. New blends are tested daily in stores and often influenced by customer feedback.
What to Drink: Forever Young — a mixture of greens, celery, parsley, apples and lime — is an energizing juice that's also supposed to build immunity and soothe nerves.
1571 N. Sheffield Ave.; 312-266-7335
The Story: Alexandra Curatolo is a wearer of many hats. She’s a foodie, urban gardener, former Trader Joe's grocer, urban planner and farmer's market board member. At one point in time, she was a graduate student studying food systems and community health, but dropped out to open a juice bar named after her dog, Belli.
Source: She starts her sourcing at urban farms Windy City Harvest and Growing Power before moving outward to other organic Midwestern farmers. Nonseasonal produce, such as bananas, is imported from fair-trade producers.
Process: Curatolo uses a Norwalk juicer for the purest and most nutritious juice available, as well as a centrifugal juicer for fast juicing. All recipes are inspired by taste, and a little ginger or cinnamon is recommended to kick up any blend.
What to Drink: Belli’s has a juice for whatever ails you. Just Beet's detoxifying qualities are great for hangovers, green smoothies replenish nutrients after a workout and a lemon-cayenne Kickstart is the perfect eye-opener.
1219 W. 18th St.; 312-307-7305
The Story: Chef John Chiakulas has been working with Lettuce Entertain for 38 years as a corporate chef and chef-partner of Antico Posto, Foodlife, Foodease, Mity Nice and Beatrix. He started juicing in the early 1990s, during the opening of Miracle Juice Bar at Foodlife.
Source: He uses produce from local farms such as Mick Klug, Nichols and Rustic Roads. This is easier during the spring and summer when berries, herbs, fruits and vegetables are in season. For nonlocal fruits, such as oranges, he turns to Florida. His juices are sweetened with grape juice or agave rather than refined sugar.
Process: The juicing process depends entirely on the juice. Fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apples, celery, romaine, watermelon, strawberries, honeydew and ginger are juiced in the centrifugal juicer. All citrus goes into a traditional circus juicer. After that, they are double strained, while delicate fruits and blended juices go in the Vitamix.
What to Drink: Blue Boost — pure blueberry juice, white grapes and basil — is made with half of a pint of fresh blueberries and loaded with antioxidants.
519 N. Clark St.; 312-284-1377
The Story: Krissy Sciarra, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, worked at kitchens and on the management side of the restaurant industry before hanging up her toque to manage for Equinox fitness clubs. She combined this passion for food and healthy living into the first chef-driven juice bar in Chicago.
Source: The Urban Canopy is an urban farm initiative that began as a rooftop garden at the Plant in 2011 and has since expanded to gardens in unused spaces and schools around Chicago. Sciarra sources wheatgrass directly from the farm.
Process: Sciarra approaches juice blends in her Norwalk and industrial cold-press juicer like she would approach a recipe in a restaurant kitchen, combining ingredients and flavor profiles that work well together. She calls herself a mad scientist, and she's assisted by a registered dietician to ensure that all of the juices are nutritionally balanced.
What to Drink: One of the original two juices, and still most popular, is a combination of fennel, orange, lemon and mint that aids in digestion, releases toxins and is loaded with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins A and C.
1012 W. Lake St.; 312-265-0182
The Story: Anne Owen and Jared Van Camp each bring their own credentials to the juicing table. Owen has an affinity for healthy living after spending her early career in the fast-paced publishing world in New York City and Miami. Van Camp is a notable chef whose longtime battle with Type 1 Diabetes inspired a recent lifestyle change that included healthier eating.
Source: Van Camp’s status as a Green City Market junior board member will help Owen + Alchemy become the first cold-pressed juice bar in Chicago to use all local produce. Over the past 10 years, he has solidified relationships with local farmers who supply seasonal and organic produce.
Process: “We approach recipes the same way you'd approach any dish in a restaurant, with consideration to details like flavor profiles, what's in season and what are the freshest ingredients we can get,” Van Camp said. These ingredients are cold-pressed in a Good Nature juicer that is able to extract juice with 1,800 pounds of pressure without the use of heat.
What to Drink: Green juice made with kale, romaine, spinach and coconut water, which helps maintain clear skin while the greens provide essential vitamins and nutrients.
2355 N. Milwaukee Ave.; opening early July