Cuisine Scene: Juice Bars
It’s common knowledge that Long Beach is a great drinking town; what’s lesser-known is that arguably the city’s fastest-growing bar scene has got nothing to do with booze. You see, Long Beach has been experiencing a juice renaissance over the past few years, with healthy, clean juicing outfits popping up in every corner of the city, serving up juices both sweet and savory, cold-pressed, locally sourced with the high-minded intention to not only restore but delight. To your health!
With its original location just off Retro Row, Salud (1944 E. Fourth St.; 4918 Second St.) is not only one of the most popular juice spots in town but has one of the best origin stories. Before opening the shop, founder/owner Angela Almaguer created healthy drinks for her father, who had heart issues, mixed in a juicer she bought for $5 at a garage sale. The two would toast “Saludos a su salud” (“Cheers to your health”). That eventually led to Salud opening in 2015, with a second, Belmont Shore location following. Both locations feature ingredients from local, organic farmers featured in individual juices as well as its very popular, multi-juice cleanses.
AGUAS FRESCAS YAHUALICA
Aguas Frescas Yahualica (6678 Long Beach Blvd.) is a one-stop destination that not only features all manner of Mexican cuisine, but several iterations of juicing, including the smoothie-like Licuados (papaya, mago, etc.), the Blizzard-like Raspados (tamarindo, sandia, etc.), and the titular Aguas Frescas (horchata, pina, etc.). Of course, it’s their 17 natural juices that hold the most healthful benefits, whether it is the mixture called Porcelain Skin (carrot, spinach, cucumber), the Power Rise (carrot, orange, beets, parsley), or more than a dozen others.
MOVITA JUICE BAR
A family health crisis moved Movita’s (421 W. Broadway) founders to redouble their efforts to help people make better choices at an affordable price; they’re fond of saying that health should not be a luxury. You can see that commitment in the manner that drink options are presented on their menu, with vitamins and minerals sharing equal space with fruit and veggie ingredients. For instance, “The Cleanser,” is not only shown to feature pineapple, kale, cucumber and lime, but also potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and Vitamins A and C.
One of the newer juice spots in town – with locations in Bixby Knolls and North Long Beach – Juice Lab’s (3960 N. Studebaker Rd.; 3844 Atlantic Ave.) handcrafted blends are made with ingredients from a small group of trusted vendors. They offer juices made to order as well as a wide variety of bottled options, most of them with easy to understand benefits, i.e. the Citrus Bomb, Cardio Pro, Fiber Plus, Morning Glow, etc. Juice Lab also offers one- and three-day cleanse kits with titles like Clean, Active and Energy.
Made with organic fruits and veggies from local farms, Rainbow (246 E. Third St.) presses them to perfection, yielding high amounts of vitamins, minerals and enzymes with minimal exposure to heat and oxidation, all the while maintaining copious amounts of yummy. Its Third Street location is a definite destination for the health conscious and has been since 2015. Two years later, it opened up its raw food cafe, Under the Sun, next door, a natural extension of its clean living ethos.
Its juice and food menu is among the most comfortable in the city, with such stars as carne asada loaded fries, burritos and tacos, sharing space with at least 15 aguas frescas ranging from the stalwart, mango, pepino and limon, along with green juice cousin pina and spinach. Aguas’ (5248 Long Beach Blvd.) selections are made up of ingredients sourced from local farmers, some of them very local. Some of the fruits they use are grown in the yard of the Sandoval family that owns the restaurant.
Serving up not only juices, but smoothies, acai and pitaya bowls, Tru Nature (2225 E. Broadway) may rank first when it comes to naming their drinks. Whether it’s the Funky Money or the Happy Buddha, their juice concoctions not only nourish but amuse and, in some case, intrigue: is The Hangover Cure (spinach, parsley, ginger, turmeric, beet) the long sought after magic potion? There are also Wellness Shots that include the likes of Turmeric Wellness (apple, ginger, turmeric, Cayenne pepper) and The Yogi Shot (Pineapple, giner, turmeric, cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper, agave).
“Pressed Juicery” (4923 Second St.) evolved from a 25-square-foot “juice closet” to a food truck to the stylish brick and mortar of today. Pressed not only offers cold-pressed fare but, now, an array of plant-based foods. Juices are crafted with seasonal produce from California’s Central Valley and contain the likes of turmeric freshly pressed on site. Ultimately, Pressed aspires to healthy juices that taste good as well. They’re fond of saying they don’t just want to boost your wellness, they want to wow your taste buds.