Produce Results

Washington’s sudden surge of juice options shows veggies make more than just salad


Joanna Hawthorne shows off the pulp she has left in her juicer. She’s using the pulp to make wraps for raw sandwiches.

“I’m the unhealthiest person,” 48-year-old Andrea Thimm proclaimed during a visit to Hawthorne Homemade last week. But her presence at the new rustic market and juice bar near her house in Cleveland Park is an attempt to change that. Her order that day: “Glowing Skin,” a chuggable combo of carrot, kale, apple, parsley and ginger.

Thimm’s only just picked up her juice habit, but she’s already seeing results. “It’s given me natural energy to get through the late afternoon,” she says. “I feel the effects immediately.”

So if you see a higher percentage of Washingtonians walking around with extra vim and vigor, blame the veggies. The District had been thirsty for juice options for years, and now, suddenly, there’s a cornucopia.

Hawthorne (3706 Macomb St. NW; 202-248-2374) started slinging juice last month. December marked the openings of both Puree Artisan Juice Bar (4903 Elm St., Bethesda; 301-654-7873), a sleek hangout that caters to the Equinox Fitness crowd, and Khepra’s Raw Food Juice Bar (402 H St. NE; 202-489-8476), a takeout spot tucked away at the back of an African-themed health products store.

Work downtown? Drinks from Juice Revolution, a food truck that launched in November, will be available at D.C. locations of the fast casual restaurant chain Freshii. And Juice Joint (1025 Vermont Ave. NW; 202-347-6783), the café that’s been selling its namesake for 15 years, will reopen in March with double the space — and a glass-enclosed vertical wheatgrass grower.

“D.C. has forever been behind in terms of juicing,” says Juice Joint owner Tom Holland. But every year, he’s seen interest grow, and since being closed in January for the renovations, he’s been bombarded with calls from customers looking for a fix. He’s hoping that the simultaneous arrival of all of these new places means grabbing a carrot concoction won’t be so hard anymore.

All of the establishments praise the healing properties of their menus — the phrase “liquid vitamins” gets thrown around a lot — but each has a twist on the juice bar concept.

Khepra Anu’s obsession is his homemade coconut water, which is the base of each of his juices. (His Raw Food Juice Bar goes through 700 coconuts a week.) Puree emphasizes its premium, organic ingredients. Those green shots aren’t just wheatgrass, but “the best wheatgrass in the country,” says chef Steve Mekoski, a Culinary Institute of America grad who’s particularly proud of his handcrafted almond milk, made with alkaline water and sweetened with dates and vanilla bean.

While Puree sells almost nothing besides juice, Hawthorne Homemade also hawks grocery items, soups, sandwiches and coffee to expose more customers to Joanna Hawthorne’s organic blends.

And nowhere is quite like the B Spot (1123 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 202-546-7186), a juice bar/tea room/gallery that opened just over a year ago, where patrons can take in poetry readings while sipping a wineglass of carrot, beet and cucumber juices.

It all sounds delicious to Hawthorne, who sees a juicier future for the District. “There’s fast food on every corner,” she says. “And they all do well.” Just wait until more folks taste a real happy meal.


Four-Drink Minimum

The three new juice bars don’t just want you to drink juice. They want you to drink just juice — for a few days. That’s what’s called a cleanse, a holistic health practice that’s been glamorized by celebs who use liquid diets to prepare for the red carpet.

The benefits go beyond weight loss, says Khepra Anu, who’s been running his weeklong Mojo Juice Detox ($295) since 2005. (The next one starts March 18.) By giving your body a vacation from breaking down what you eat, it can focus on rebuilding, he says. “After a cleanse, you’ll feel light and energized,” adds Joanna Hawthorne, who suggests her regimen ($150) to nearly everyone who walks into Hawthorne Homemade. It’s a three-day supply of eight juices per day, plus a raw meal on the fourth day to help you transition. (Or, you can commit to drinking four juices a day and supplement with unprocessed, vegan foods as needed for $75.) Puree offers two set cleanses ($65 one day, $180 three days). The difference? The second level features more green juices. You have to develop a taste for those, but owner Amy Waldman says it’s eventually easy being green.

Price Check

Before you freak out about how much these juices cost — as much as $10 a pop at Puree — remember that a heck of a lot of produce goes into each glass. (Puree’s 22 Karat uses 2.2 pounds of organic carrots.) Plus, you won’t need to deal with cleanup, a step that often discourages home juicers.

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.

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Dr. Andrea Bonior · February 21, 2012