Let’s be honest, we Austinites enjoy our libations. We like our local craft beers, our flavored and six time distilled vodkas and, of course, a Mexican martini or two. That being said, we’re also a city of health conscious folk who like to fit a day’s worth of fruits and veggies into a plastic cup. Be it a smoothie or fresh pressed juice, Austin has no short supply of these nutrient powerhouses!
I’m an adamant green smoothie maker, but sometimes my blender tires, my produce supply plummets and my pantry does nothing to excite me. That’s when I hit the streets.
So sit back as I take you through a city of juice giants on my sip-able scavenger hunt.
Stop #1: JuiceLand
With thirteen locations, sumptuous super food smoothies, cleanse collections and vegan entrees, JuiceLand has become an Austin staple. From the colorful murals of pineapple Chichen Itza to the ever cheerful employees who have a constant supply of ninja bachelor parties, kaleibrators and other cheekily named drinks coursing through their veins, the giant juice chain cant help but tempt passersbys.
If JuiceLand has been your jam for a while and you’re looking to mix things up, take a look at the (EN)LIGHTENED Menu (scroll down on the PDF). This secret menu is designed by the pros to riff on your classic JuiceLand favorites and more fully cater to your dietary desires.
Seeking enlightenment, I took the plunge with the Soul Boulder Jump Start. At first when I ordered, the cashier looked at me like I was a little crazy. Maybe this menu is a bit more secret than I thought, but soon enough the blenders were whirring away with my new swaps. Chia water, avocado and bee pollen replaced coconut H2O, banana and cherries.
I cannot say I achieved total enlightenment, but these swaps still made for a delicious treat. I sipped at that cup until it was clean. For those of you who are devout JuiceLand sippers and wouldn’t dare try any other juice joint, I suggest you check out the (EN)LIGHTENED menu for a change of routine and extra drinkable magic! Everyone else, let’s keep exploring!
Stop #2: The Soup Peddler
The Soup Peddler’s name does not do it justice. Although its soul warming soups are delicious, the eatery’s juices deserve just as much of a shout out. The juice makers at Soup Peddler seem to understand my motivation for drinking juices and smoothies without even having to ask. I want something that will sneakily pack in those fruits I love and veggies that I also have an affinity for (but not quite as much as their sweet natural counterparts), and still make it taste good.
On my latest visit, I sipped on the Afternoon Delight, a concoction of beet, watermelon, pineapple, ginger, lemon, mint, maca and rosewater. It definitely won up that barbershop quartet song that boasts the same name. I love myself the spice of ginger and sour sweet bite of pineapple, and maca is a super food according to someone…so enough said.
But every time I try to add a beet to a smoothie, my once lovely libation will often taste like dirt and be a bit tricky to stomach. Luckily for me, those peddlers somehow worked their magic because the combo topped off with rosewater and watermelon was a true delight.
If you haven’t already stopped in at The Soup Peddler, go on in. We all agree with their motto–yes, soup is love. But juice is love, too. You will not be sorry.
501 W Mary St, 13219 Hwy 183 and 2801 S Lamar – Website
Stop #3: People’s Pharmacy
If you’ve ever passed by People’s Pharmacy on North Lamar, you can’t help but notice their signage. A pharmacy that loudly advertises chocolate covered strawberries on their windowpanes? That sounds too good to be true, right? Walk into any location and you’ll find that People’s Rx is a veritable Disneyland for the health nut in all of us.
People’s Pharmacy is known for their Pharm Fresh cold press raw juices. I was tempted by their beaker-like glass bottles and vibrant colors that make sports drinks look truly radioactive. But in need of an energy boost, I headed to the deli counter in search of a smoothie. I choose the Sacred Cacao, which gloriously folds the rich flavors of chocolate, almond and cinnamon together with a twist of cayenne at the end for warmth. The pepper leaves you with a zing that sounds strange, but your taste buds won’t think so!
The smoothie was just what the doctor ordered. I’m definitely due for another visit to this pharmacy soon. If only all prescription pick-ups offered a little farm fresh love in a bottle or cup.
3801 South Lamar, 4018 North Lamar and 4201 Westbank Dr – Website
Stop #4: Ju Ju Juice
Editor’s Note: Ju Ju Juice is now closed.
Tucked into the corner of one of East Austin’s popping coffee shop/eateries, Cenote, is the tiny and slightly dreamlike juice bar called Ju Ju Juice. This is the only place I know of where you can order up some good ju ju and have it delivered to you in a cup.
Ju Ju Juice is about the experience, not just the drink itself. When you order, you can’t help but smile as names like Pillow talk, Red tingler and Happy Buddha pass through your lips. When you walk up to the shop’s tiny window decked out in chalk writing and welcome signs, founder Iba will greet you from his perch inside with a Cheshire-like grin and, if you’re lucky, an anecdote.
On my visit, Iba professed his life philosophy. Ubuntu. “It means ‘I am because you are,'” the Senegal native crooned. He says that neither he nor Ju Ju Juice could exist without his loyal customers. His way of showing gratitude is by sharing some good ju ju through the juices, smoothies and bowls he lovingly crafts. One sip and you can feel it.
Next time you drive down East Cesar Chavez, I urge you to make a quick pit stop. Walk up to the magical window and get a bit of wisdom for the day. Most of the produce at Ju Ju Juice comes from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, so in one trip you’re supporting two local businesses and having an experience you won’t forget!
1010 East Cesar Chavez – Website
And thus ends our exploration of just a few of the many fabulous juice and smoothie places in Austin. I hope this has inspired you to sip on something healthy, local and delicious today.
If you have any favorite Austin juice bars, let us know! For now, its safe to say that if every healthy food were as tantalizing as the magical blends served up by the juice makers of our fair city, I would never touch a cookie again. Alas and alack, we all have to fit our guilty pleasures in somewhere.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What are your favorite Austin juice bars?