I recently moved home to Ottawa from Vancouver, where the juice craze is in full force. Vancouver’s The Juice Truck, a florescent-coloured kitchen on wheels, parks in trendy Gastown every day – serving cold-pressed juices and scrumptious smoothies to business-people and yogis alike.
Retailers like Glory Juice Co and the Juice Box have moved from online sales to storefront shops, stopping virtually every Kitsilano jogger and their dog. The petite round bottles with funky labels are replacing reusable coffee mugs branded with the Starbucks logo.
But Ottawa has been quickly catching on. Among leaders of the local movement is Ottawan, certified Culinary Nutrition Expert and entrepreneur Alexa Spas, who is now creating delicious custom juices for Ottawa’s popular Bridgehead coffee shops.
Alexa launched her own business in 2012 after finishing a culinary nutrition internship in Toronto. Equipped with a brand new juicer, a big imagination, and a bunch of recipes in her back pocket, Alexa started selling her juices to those eager to try a cleanse (or just get their vitamins in a really delicious way) – and then could barely keep up with the demand. Now, she’s excited to have partnered with Bridgehead to give Ottawans a treat.
Why cold-pressed juice? The basic concept is that juice gives you a quick hit of easily digestible nutrients.
After doing my own personal tour of some of Ottawa’s newest juice bars, I put together a short (and by no means comprehensive) list for those anxious to try out the trend. In no particular order, here are four flavorful creators and carriers of fresh, cold-pressed organic goodies you want to be spotted carrying.
The juices range from $6-$12 – pricey but packed full of fresh produce.
Where: 15 locations across the city.
The juicy details: Bridgehead juices are hand-made with love by Alexa in her very own section of the Bridgehead kitchen, just off Wellington Street on Smirle Avenue. They’re literally cold off the press – the custom-made blends have only been available for a few weeks. Growing up in Ottawa, I loved frequenting Bridgehead with friends to soak up the warm, friendly, community-focused atmosphere. The new juices only strengthen the pull!
You must try: “Green Energy.” Cucumber, pear, celery, kale, spinach, parsley, lemon. Energizing and detoxifying. It’s like eating a salad … but better.
2. Pure Kitchen
Where: 357 Richmond Rd.
The juicy details: Pure Kitchen opened its doors at the end of February, and there have been long lineups in Westboro ever since. The dynamic Pure Yoga team has created a vibrant atmosphere and amazing kitchen, featuring juices to sip in their funky restaurant or to grab on-the-go. Watch the juice being pressed before your eyes by a staff member sporting a “Give Peas a Chance” t-shirt.
You must try: “Energized.” Pineapple, cucumber, beets, apple. Beets are the best.
Where: The kitchen is located at 196 Jeanne Mance St. in Vanier, but the owner delivers to a number of local businesses including Pressed Café at 750 Gladstone, Market Organics at 126 York St., and Nature’s Buzz at 55 Beechwood Ave. (for all locations, check out his website). You can also have the juice delivered to your home!
The juicy details: Urban Juice Press was born when Justin Gauthier started juicing after its beneficial effects helped him overcome health problems. According to his website, he fell in love with juice bars on a trip to New York City, and on his train ride home decided to open his own business in Ottawa.
You must try: “Happy Rabbit.” Carrot, apple, pineapple, lemon, ginger. Feel the “hop” in your step.
The Green Door Grocer is located at 202 Main St. in Old Ottawa East and Yogatown at 300 Preston St.
The juicy details: Naomi, another local Ottawan, is the creative brain behind the juice. She delivers it fresh every Tuesday and Friday to The Green Door Grocer and recently started selling her juice at Yogatown.
You must try: “Pura Vida.” Pineapple, pear, cucumber, cayenne, mint, lime. Included in the $12 price is a $1 bottle deposit. It’s the sweetest, so it’s very popular, according to the lady I spoke with at the Green Door Grocer. But it has a kick with the cayenne. Personally, I love the hint of mint.