With a near-constant barrage of worrisome news and health scares this week, it’s time for a nutritious break. Whether you prefer your juice pure or decorated to taste more like dessert, these local spots have something to boost your mood and your immune system.
Latina-owned and operated, Vida Pura touts the life-saving capabilities of fresh juice. The owner tells it that her father reduced his cancer by drinking cold-pressed juices like the ones offered here. Perhaps even more magical, though, is Vida Pura’s mangonada: “blended frozen mango topped with chamoy sauce, lime juice, and chili powder”– sweet, salty, and tart, it’s a real treat sans the usual post-consumption stuffed and sugared-out feeling. For a light lunch or mid-afternoon snack, have the avocado toast. This now-ubiquitous menu item isn’t easy to perfect, but this one pairs perfectly ripe avocado, crunchy sourdough, and crushed red pepper with a drizzle of agave and blanket of hemp seeds, making an old favorite exciting again.
Though Juiceland is bigger than life these days, the Duval location still feels like a local spot. After navigating Austin traffic and the always-full parking lot right off the busy intersection, the inside feels even cozier. Sure, you can order online and pick it up in 10 minutes, but why bother when you can browse for a new record while waiting in-store? This Austin original has had massive success – they’ve expanded to Georgetown, Houston, Dallas, even the airport – and consequently, they’re able to offer great deals and do charity work. The Smoothie of the Day – $6.75 for an 18oz. smoothie – is always a great option, and with enough points you can donate juice to a food bank or orgs like Refugee Services of Texas. Now with superfood lattes, you can get that hot morning drink with a nutrition boost. www.juiceland.com
When the whole family is burnt out on health food and cooking, and everybody wants something easy but no one can agree, it’s time to hit up Soup Peddler. Between juice, smoothies, soups, salads, and sandwiches, everyone is bound to find something that’s quick and easy without sacrificing nutrition. Turkey, cilantro pesto, spinach, and pepper jack is as satisfying and delicious as the burger you almost succumbed to; the pepperoni, sundried tomato pesto, and mozzarella will make the kids forget about bagel bites for a night. Always check the daily soup – they nail everything from gazpacho to mulligatawny. Grab an Afternoon Delight (beet, watermelon, pineapple, ginger, lemon, mint, maca, rosewater) for dessert because after that dinner argument, you deserve it. www.souppeddler.com
Willow & Co.
Tiny but mighty, this isn’t your typical juicery. Right next to local favorite Brew and Brew, Willow and Co. masters the juice game. Pair a green juice with a Smash toast – whipped cream cheese, smashed blackberries, honey, hint of pink salt, thyme, and pistachios. Refreshingly, they also have comforting favorites like their peanut butter, banana, honey, and bee pollen toast or the Willow Grilled Cheese with triple cream brie, sliced apple, and spicy bacon jam. Even Austin favorite Komé has given them their vote of confidence with a partnership – on Wednesdays you can grab their sushi at Willow & Co.
It’s not technically in Austin, but If you’re craving a healthy chocolate shake, look no further than Hydrate in Georgetown. The Funky Monkey smoothie tastes like a shake but it’s made with “superfood” cacao, peanut butter for protein, and honey for sweetness. You’ll leave feeling more than satisfied, without that sugar slump later. If peanut butter’s more your thing, try the Green Machine – still tastes like a shake, but with spinach and kale! That’s healthy, right? www.hydratetexas.com
Jugo, from Shawn Cirkiel (the same local restaurateur responsible for Parkside, Backspace, and Vamanos), is tricky to find, but worth the hunt. It’s tucked away on Brazos – perfect for those who work downtown and wanna grab a healthy lunch. They have sushi from Ni-Komé and various healthy snacks, but you should really go for one of their smoothies. Written on the menu simply as a list of ingredients, each one is more creative than what you’ll find elsewhere: The spinach, banana, oat milk, cinnamon, ginger, and almond butter concoction tastes like an oatmeal raisin cookie spiked with ginger, and it’s green! Bonus: With the “farm to blender” mentality, Jugo is committed to working with local farms and purveyors and composting all of its excess produce. (No cash; card only.) www.jugo-austin.com
Daily Juice extols the virtues of raw green juices for the whole family. Husband-and-wife-team Joanie and Cary have been in the biz since 2003, and even employ their kids! They say juice cleanses are responsible for their healthy diets and healthy cravings, thus cleanses are the specialty at Daily Juice. Even if you’re not ready for a juice cleanse stop in for their garden toasts. The Graceland is gluten-free, raw, and vegan, and yet tastes like dessert. The toast itself consists of flax seeds, sunflower seeds, agave, raisins, cinnamon, and Celtic sea salt, which gives it a pleasant chewiness and salty sweet flavor; the toppings include almond butter, walnuts, and very fresh fruit – strawberries, bananas, and tart blueberries – and it’s all drizzled with agave and sprinkled with cinnamon. www.dailyjuicecafe.com
True to its name, Juice Austin is definitely the most quintessentially Austin place on the list. Housed in a trailer on South Congress right across from classic favorite Jo’s Coffee, the juice is worth the wait. Service is friendly and relaxed, no one seems to be in a big hurry and they shouldn’t be… that’s why we live in Austin, right? Perfect stop on a hot summer day (or spring, perhaps, as the seating is outdoor-only), while you’re ambling up and down the street. Notably, Juice Austin drives a mobile juice truck around – they even deliver and do events which is perfect for millennials who want juice at their bohemian wedding. (No cash; card only.)
Blenders & Bowls
If you’re looking to kick up your routine a notch, go for a Healthy Hulk, complete with spinach and spirulina. The bowls are fully customizable and transparent – the blendistas at this women-owned spot can give you any nutritional info about your bowl. Their 4th street location is housed inside a bougie yoga studio, which is convenient considering açai is the perfect pick-me-up after you accidentally fall asleep in your Yin class. Happy to add or subtract dairy or nuts, make it paleo or gluten-free, Blenders and Bowls is uber accommodating to Austinites’ ever-increasing food demands. www.blendersandbowls.com