Organic juice bars sprout up in Chicago

May 6, 2011 9:46:26 AM PDT
The trend may have started on the West Coast, but there's nothing trendy about drinking freshly squeezed fruits and vegetables.

The thing most of the new juice bars have in common is a single-minded approach to all-natural ingredients - most of which are organic.

Juicing has been around for quite awhile, but the trend toward all-natural juice cleanses is relatively new to Chicago. At The Green Corner in Bucktown, the mantra comes from the West Coast, where juicing has been a staple in the celebrity news camp.

"I think that there's a big trend especially in L.A. among a lot of actresses like Selma Hayek just created a cleanse... So I think juicing we're slowly but surely learning that there's tons of health benefits that come from it and so places are opening up to service this need," said Green Corner owner Colleen Murzyn.

The store offers serious cleanse programs, but they also just make pure juices, like The Wolverine, which contains spinach, but also gets a jolt of sweetness from pineapple and orange juice; banana and yogurt give the drink some body. The store's namesake is a green dream: spinach, kale, celery and cucumber, with just a hint of lemon and apple.

In Lincoln Park, Peeled is the latest all-organic juice bar, with a real emphasis on creative, flavorful recipes.

"And what we do with all of our smoothies in creating the recipes, we're trying to create layers of flavor so not only do you taste the pronounced base, but you also get under layers and overtones of different flavors," said Peeled owner Kevin Pegues.

Their "Rapper's Delight" is a smoothie unlike any other. Coconut milk and fresh, chopped mango are combined in a blender... along with crunchy kale. They're naturally sweetened with agave nectar and get a jolt of cinnamon. After a serious blend, the drink is dusted with the slightest amount of cinnamon yet again. Their Eco-Trip smoothie contains not only bananas and coconut milk, but mangoes, antioxidant-rich goji berries and fresh lime juice as well. You can tell right away that based on the recipes, they're approaching each drink with the commitment of a chef.

"We hand-make the coconut milk, the almond milk is handmade in-house, the coconut water we actually hack open a coconut and pull the water from. So there's a technical aspect a technical care that we actually use in producing the wonderful drinks that we have," Pegues said.

1571 N. Sheffield Ave

The Green Corner
1880 N. Damen Ave

Also mentioned:

Earth's Healing Cafe
1942 W. Montrose Ave.

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