FINALLY — I can get fresh juice in my neighborhood without having to drive! I live and work in Crosstown Memphis, a neighborhood on the northern edge of Midtown, and for years, our little area has been neglected and filled with abandoned buildings. That's because the neighborhood anchor — the 1.5-million-square-foot Sears headquarters — closed in the late 90s, leading to the closure of other businesses around it.
But that's changing thanks to a massive revitalization project led by Crosstown Arts, the nonprofit I work for. A few years ago, Crosstown Arts got the ball rolling to renovate and rebrand the old Sears Crosstown building as Crosstown Concourse. It's a HUGE building, and a little arts organization couldn't fill it on its own, so dozens of local businesses and organizations (medical centers, education nonprofits and various nonprofits of all stripes, restaurants, and retail) stepped up to save the long-vacant 1920s art-deco building. It's been under construction for a few years now, and slowly but surely, businesses are opening to the public. Crosstown Arts is moving our galleries and arts programming into the Crosstown Concourse this fall. We're currently across the street.
Yesterday, one of my favorite additions to the building — Juice Bar — opened, and quite frankly, made my little world complete. One of my two gyms —the Church Health YMCA — is in Concourse too. So now I can get fresh juice as I leave the gym! Plus, they have lots of vegan grab-and-go items for lunch.
This is Juice Bar's second Memphis location (it's a small franchise), but the other one is in the Cooper-Young neighborhood about a 7-minute drive away. While that doesn't sound far, I prefer to walk or bike everywhere. Since I live and work in the neighborhood, I often go days without driving a car. This is much more convenient! In fact, I walked over to Concourse for lunch today and got these Pad Thai Noodles (sweet potato noodles, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, cilantro, garlic, sesame seeds, cashews, Thai peanut sauce) and Mean Greens Juice (jalapeno, celery, kale, spinach, cucumber, parsley, lemon).
Last night, I was invited to a media preview party at Juice Bar. They don't sell alcohol, but they had some special spiked cocktails for us to try. There was Gin & Juice and Orange You Glad We Said Prosecco.
They also had some food samples available. I had already eaten a big dinner, so I didn't eat much. But they had samples of the Pad Thai Noodle Bowl.
And the Almond Butter Sandwich (with strawberries, apple slices, and cacao nibs). While Juice Bar is about 95 percent vegan, they do use bee products in some items, and this sandwich typically comes with honey. It's sold in the grab-and-go case, but the owner tells me that they can make it without honey by request. Just ask at the counter.
Most food items are prepared ahead of time and available in the grab-and-go case. Vegan options include the Sprout Sandwich, Pad Thai Noodle Bowl, Kale Quinoa Bowl, and Spring Rolls.
There are a few food items to avoid or alter if you're vegan — the Overnight Oats contain honey and bee pollen (but they are made with almond milk so if you don't avoid bee products, there's that), and since they're prepared the night before, they can't be made vegan by request. The dressing in the Nori Bowl contains honey, but it's served separately so you could eat it without the dressing (or take it home and use your own vegan dressing). The other items with honey — the Chocolate Bowl, Dragon Fruit Bowl, and the Acai Bowl — are smoothie bowls that are prepared as they're ordered, so they can be made without honey. All of the smoothies and juices are vegan, and they use plant-based protein powder.
They also sell essential oil shots and power shots (made with power foods like wheatgrass, cayenne, ginger, and turmeric). There's even a Hangover Helper with activated charcoal that I'm sure will come in handy.
And they fill growlers! I have a juicer at home, but juicing can be expensive and messy. And while I do juice at home sometimes, it's nice to have another option for when I'm too busy (or real talk, lazy).
Juice Bar is open in Crosstown Concourse Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.