Think there’s not enough options for healthy eating in St. Louis? I Love Juice Bar (9849 Manchester Road, Rock Hill) will challenge that perception.
The juice and smoothie bar — the first St. Louis location of a national franchise — offers vegetarian, gluten-free and organic (when possible) meal alternatives in the forms of juices, smoothies, juice shots, soups, sandwiches and small bites. Carolyn Dowd and John Brunner opened the Rock Hill location on December 1, 2016.
“We fell in love with the menu and the concept of fresh fruits and vegetables, no added sugars, no preservatives, nothing fake,” says Dowd. “There’s nowhere in St. Louis that dedicates itself to this concept. You can go to a cafe that has a juicer, but it’s not a juice bar.”
A Nashville couple started I Love Juice Bar in 2013, and there are already 35 franchise locations around the U.S.
The brand uses a centrifugal juicer to process whole fruits and vegetables. Other healthy ingredients, such as almond milk, raw cacao powder, acai puree, chia seeds, hemp seeds and plant-based protein powder, are also added to the beverages to achieve a healthy and delicious snack or meal.
“We don’t use any ice, we don’t use any cheap fillers. We’re all about the nutrition,” explains Dowd.
The 1,700-square-foot space radiates good vibes and healthy living with bright green walls, barn wood tables and succulent plants.
“I hope that people realize that this is a place where people can go to get healthy, or if they’re already healthy, to help them stay healthy,” said Dowd. “People can come to grab lunch, grab breakfast, grab a quick dinner—we’re open until 6:30 p.m. We’re the only place in town that you can get a good acai bowl.”
The juice bar handcrafts everything—every juice, food and sauce is made in-house, with products purchased from locally based Sun Farm. “We taste every single juice that comes out of here to make sure that it has the right flavor profile so that it tastes the same every time you get it,” says Dowd.
Opening the store was an impulse decision turned passion project. Dowd was working in operations for a non-profit when she and Brunner decided to make their idea come to life. After a year and a half of planning, the store finally opened its doors.
Best sellers at I Love Juice Bar are the acai bowl (acai puree, banana and organic almond milk, topped with granola, almond butter, strawberries, blueberries, banana, chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, goji berries, bee pollen and local honey) and the green smoothie (spinach, kale, pineapple, banana, lemon, organic coconut milk, organic apple juice). Prices range from $2 to $11.75. Most small juices and smoothies are $6.
Juice cleanses are also available; however, Dowd encourages customers to come in and discuss their health needs and wants before starting a cleanse.
“I think of food as medicine. It can be the reason you’re healthy or the reason you’re sick,” says Dowd. “We’re a place to go to help you get healthy, and use food as medicine. But we can do the basic things too—there’s room for a Smoothie King customer at Juice Bar.”
Hours are Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.