Popularized in the health conscious state of California, it almost makes sense that a location with sunny weather and beachy vibes would feature dozens of juice bars to choose from. The premise is simple; sip on delicious healthy fruit or vegetable juice while you rid your body of unnecessary toxins.
Not to be left out of the juicing trend, you can now add Chicago to the list of major cities featuring juice bars. However, with it being Chicago we don’t do everything like every other city. Instead of sunshine filled white spaces, our newest residents are the edgy and cool duo Anne Owen and Jared Van Camp of Owen + Alchemy.
Located in Logan Square, Owen + Alchemy prides itself on being much more than a juice bar but rather a juice apothecary. As soon as one walks in, the setting the dark and cool vibe immediately separates them from other juices. The chic vibe features deep tones of black and rich tones of white contrasting with the brightly colored juice bottles in the fridge. A moss covered cross-like structure is sprawled across the front window only letting in small sections of light.
The setting is dark yet sophisticated and the juice is quite appealing, but I wanted to know more about the bottles that can be seen in the hands of every posh Chicagoan. Recently I caught up with Anne Owen, who answered all of my juicing questions. Without further ado, here’s my chat with Anne!
TCL: What made you want to start a juice bar in Chicago?
AO: After living in NYC and Miami, I grew dependent on convenient access to fresh, clean, healthy and delicious plant-based food. I grew up in Chicago and I would get so frustrated by the lack of options when I would come to town to visit my family. The opportunity to bring something new, healthy and fresh to my hometown was just too exciting to pass up.
TCL: What would you say is the mission of O + A?
AO: To provide convenient access to clean, healthy, creative and delicious plant-based juice and food in a socially conscious manner.
TCL: What separates your juices from others on the market?
AO: First and foremost, It would be the fact that our menu was created by a classically trained chef, Chef Jared Van Camp. The plant-based food world does not often benefit from the talent of someone with a skill-set and experience like Jared. It’s also been incredibly important for us work with true experts, which is why we are thrilled to partner with the Raby Institute of Integrative Medicine at Northwestern, and our herbalist Giselle Wasfie, L.Ac., MSTOM.
TCL: You offer quite the variety of juices. As a newbie juicer how do we begin to navigate selecting the right juice for us?
AO: Our menu is definitely pretty diverse, however, we make sure that it’s not overwhelming for our newbies! Our team in the store is extremely knowledgeable about our products and their health benefits and are skilled at guiding customers through the menu and helping them to decide on the juice or food that will satisfy what they’re looking for, whether it’s a specific flavor profile or an ailment they’re hoping to improve.
TCL: I read somewhere that you implement Chinese Herb powders. What does this do to the juice?
AO: We do! Giselle Wasfie, a board certified herbalist, created five proprietary herbal blends for us using traditional Chinese herbs. We have Detox, Immunity, Digest, Energy, and Calm. The herbal blends can be mixed into a smoothie or brewed into a tea.
TCL: What do the different numbers on the bottle mean?
Essentially the numbers are the names of the juices. The juices are organized numerically and categorically. The green juices are 1-10, fruit 11-20, etc.
TCL: Let’s say I don’t want to do a full blown cleanse, could I still reap the benefits of the juices if I just have it with meals?
AO: For those who are newer to juice cleansing, or who simply can’t wrap their heads around a liquid-only cleanse, we offer our Universal Cleanse. This cleanse includes a mix of juice, bowls, and salads; all completely plant-based. Both of our cleanse programs were designed by the Raby Institute of Integrative Nutrition at Northwestern. However, you definitely do not need to cleanse in order to reap the benefits of juice or plant based foods. With about five lb’s of produce in every bottle, even one juice is incredibly beneficial.
TCL: One of the concerns of the juice cleanse is the lack of protein. Do your products contain protein at all?
AO: A common misconception is that protein can only be found in animal products, which is totally untrue. Nuts, greens, and grains are all incredible powerful sources of protein. Our 02 green juice has 14 grams of protein per bottle.
TCL: If we wanted to use this as a fruit and vegetable supplement, how many servings of fruits and vegetables are in one bottle?
AO: Lots! On average there are between 3-5 pounds of produce in every bottle of juice.
TCL: Can you run us through the juicing process? What is the process involved to make one bottle of O + A Juice?
AO: The process is considerably time-consuming! There’s a lot of time and energy put into each bottle. The entire process is several hours long, including triple washing the produce, preparing it, juicing it, straining, seasoning, cooling, bottling, labeling, dating, capping and sealing. The juicing alone can take up to an hour per flavor. We use a cold-press juicer which slowly applies up to 2,000 pounds of pressure to the produce in order to extract the juice. Cold-pressing takes considerably longer than traditional juicing, however, it ensures that the juice remains 100% raw, protecting the live nutrients and enzymes. Our production team is constantly prepping, juicing and bottling, at all hours of the day/night, to keep our fridges full.
After my visit at Owen + Alchemy, I tried their Number 15 fruit juice, which I highly recommend. It featured a cool and refreshing taste with a nice hint of ginger. Owen + Alchemy is also much more than a juice bar as they feature specialty bowls. I had the Ba bowl which was incredibly delicious. It satisfied the sweet tooth while also catering to anyone on a health kick.
Feel free to go and check out Owen + Alchemy for yourself! Be sure to ask to sample some of the products so you can pick the product that’s right for you.