10 St. Louis juice bars to explore now
Fresh-pressed juice is an easy way to up your fruit and veggie intake, getting a wide range of nutrients from produce you normally might not eat.
While there’s no bad time for fresh juice, the most beneficial time is on an empty (or close to) stomach so your body is free to absorb as many nutrients as possible. For the biggest bang for nutritional buck, stick to all or mostly veggies. Fruit should be one of the last ingredients listed; higher fruit content means a much higher sugar content, which could cause a blood sugar spike. Of course, everyone reacts differently, so you have to find what works best for you.
Because juicing strips the produce of its fiber, it won’t keep you as full as if you had eaten the produce that went into its creation. It’s also generally a good idea to eat a fibrous meal with plenty of satiating protein and fat within an hour or two of consuming the juice.
Ideally, each juice should be made-to-order, as nutrients begin to oxidize and lose potency immediately after being juiced, but many local shops can only offer bottled options due to high demand. Luckily, many are pressed, bottled and sold within a couple of days. See if there is a date on the bottle to ensure maximum nutrient density.
I explored 10 of the area’s most popular juice bars and found my favorites (in no particular order).
1. Hello Juice and Smoothie
With a decidedly upscale hippie/hipster vibe, Hello Juice and Smoothie in Forest Park Southeast offers plenty of seating amid a bright, airy space, although they also cater to the grab-and-go crowd with a fridge full of premade juices.
I tried the Carl, which had a distinctly "green" flavor from the spinach, zucchini and chlorella (an algae rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber), but lemon, pineapple and coconut water cut any bitterness without adding too much sweetness.
2. PuraVegan Cafe
Tucked into a cute residential neighborhood in DeBaliviere Place, PuraVegan has a strictly vegan cafe, as well as a yoga studio and quaint metaphysical retail shop. The juice program has seven blended juices, along with plain carrot or apple.
I tried the Glow with carrot, orange, sweet potato, turmeric and lemon, which wasn’t too sweet and had a subtle graininess from the root veggies that made it feel a bit more substantial than other juices.
3. St. Louis Juice Press
The unassuming St. Louis Juice Press in Southampton is about as bare bones as it gets, but that allows the juice to shine. The entryway and to-go cooler are inside the little kitchen, where juice is cold-pressed and bottled each morning. Most juices can be sampled, so don’t be afraid to ask.
I tried a blend of beet, carrot, apple, lemon and a noticeable kick of ginger, and really enjoyed it as a midmorning snack. There are also fresh juice popsicles, tasty and refreshing while giving you a boost of nutrition.
4. I Love Juice Bar
This franchise, with locations in Rock Hill and Ladue, provides nutrition info (hooray!). There are 10 juices on the regular menu, but seasonal offerings occasionally pop up. The 180-calorie Orange You Glad with carrot, apple, pineapple, mint, ginger and lemon (ironically, no orange) tasted amazing but was perhaps a bit sweet for a morning beverage.
In the future, I’d get that one in the afternoon or stick with my old standby, the 100-calorie Pineapple Greens with cucumber, mint, kale, spinach, parsley and just enough pineapple and lemon to cut the greens’ bitterness.
Health-conscious eatery SymBowl has locations in Kirkwood and Chesterfield. The focus is primarily on an assortment of build-your-own bowls, but there’s a good selection of smoothies, mocktails and made-to-order juices.
I got The Whole Garden with beet, kale, cucumber, carrot and celery, but with added lemon and ginger at the suggestion of the juice expert behind the counter. The beet flavor was strongest, with only hints of the hidden greenery.
6. Revel Kitchen
It’s rare to find a locally owned restaurant that provides nutrition info like calorie counts, but Revel Kitchen owner Simon Lusky was previously the Cardinals’ team chef, so nutrition is paramount at this restaurant with locations in Clayton and Brentwood.
The bottled just-sweet-enough Kale Yeah! with kale, cucumber, green apple, parsley, lemon and collard greens clocks in at just 45 calories and was perfect for a midmorning boost. The 140-calorie, dessert-like Hang 10 was also bottled with watermelon, pineapple, lime and ginger. It was a tad too sweet for me to drink plain; I ended up mixing it with some club soda and clear rum for a lightly fruity cocktail.
7. The Juice
There are over a dozen juice options (no fancy names; just the ingredients) at The Juice on Cherokee Street, from plain pineapple to the delightful combo I chose with beet, carrot, apple and ginger, which actually had quite a kick from the spice of the ginger. Juices come in 8, 12 or 16 ounces for as little as $3.50 – it’s nice to have such an affordable option.
8. Source Juicery
Source Juicery is an adorable spot in Edwardsville with plenty of healthy options in addition to a great juice program. There were some interesting bottled combinations here I didn’t see elsewhere, like in the sweet Super Charge with kale, spirulina (a nutrient-dense algae), green apple, lime and, unexpectedly, turmeric, which is more often paired with other roots like beets and carrots.
There are also a couple intriguing, nut-based “juices,” which are often added to coffee or used as the final drink of the day during a cleanse. I ordered the Aztec with cashews, dates, cacao, vanilla, Himalayan salt and a spicy hit of cayenne, which is touted to quell appetite. With the thickness of a melted milkshake and flavor reminiscent of cookie dough with a kick, it was almost too delicious.
9. Seedz Cafe
Seedz Cafe is another vegan cafe with a strong juice program. There are eight juices, some featuring ingredients like strawberry and romaine I didn’t see at other juice bars. The Green Goddess with kale, spinach, strawberry, apple and lime (the menu includes fennel, too, but I was told they no longer carry it) had a perfect balance of greenery and a subtle hint of sweetness. It’s ideal for a midmorning pick-me-up and is a top contender for my fave green juice in town.
10. The Vine Café
Primarily a Mediterranean eatery, The Vine Café is a great spot to grab a fresh juice on South Grand. I tried the Spicy Beet with beet, carrot, orange, lemon and a heftier dose of ginger than most other ginger-infused juices I’ve tried. It had a pleasant but not overpowering sweetness and was the best beet-centric blend I’ve had.
Lauren Healey is associate editor at Sauce Magazine. If you have coverage suggestions regarding healthy food and drink in St. Louis, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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