A group of local investors is bringing the Juice Bar to Market Square. Knoxville currently has two locations, one in Turkey Creek and the other in the Homberg area of Beaden. The photographs you see here are from the Bearden location which, I’m told, will greatly resemble the Market Square restaurant. I spoke to one of the investors and to Kiley Niles who is handling marketing for the group.
John and Vui Hunt started the company in Nashville, opening their first restaurant less than three years ago in April 2013. Incredibly, they’ve already overseen the opening of thirteen additional franchises in Tennessee. They’ve spread to fourteen other states with twenty-six restaurants, including one as far away as California. It’s a pretty remarkable pace for so young a company.
The concept behind it is simply healthy eating. Vui had worked at whole foods and operated a vegetarian restaurant. John was overweight and miserable on his corporate job. The couple decided to follow their passion, found a sandwich shop for sale and began transforming it. The result in their words, “Juice Bar is overwhelmingly vegetarian, gluten-free, organic when possible, and always uses 100% whole fruits and vegetables. Simply said, we are a “I want to eat healthy and feel great” type place, offering yummies like our Super Greens juice with local wheat grass, or our superfoods salad with kale, spinach, organic quinoa and fresh-juiced lemon dressing.”
As the name makes obvious, a large portion of the menu is dedicated to juices. The juices include a list of “greens,” including, for example, “Fresh Greens: celery / kale / spinach / cucumber / parsley / lemon.” Customers may also “Mix Your Own,” by selecting a base of carrot, cucumber or celery, two additional ingredients and another as an “add on.”
They will also offer a range of healthy smoothies (nine are on the menu at this time), such as the “Berry Good,” which includes blueberry, banana, cashews, lemon and coconut milk. You can even get your chocolate fix without blowing the diet with the “Blue Chocolotta,” which includes cocoa powder, almond butter, blue berries, banana and coconut milk. Smoothies also come with “add on” options and a “mix your own,” selection.
They also offer edible essential oils in drinks, as well as salads and “power shots.” Also included are Spring Rolls, a Sprout Sandwich, a Kale and Quinoa Salad, Hummus and Veggies, Fresh Coconut, Fruit Cup and Greek Yogurt Parfait. They’ve recently added soup and offer water or Kombucha. Breakfast items (beyond the parfait) are being considered.
The investors, which include restaurateurs and others in related industries, see an opportunity to offer quick, healthy food, feeling that the days of everyone taking children to McDonald’s has likely passed. Having an offering for families – and everyone – who are trying to make healthy choices seems to have found its time. Downtown would seem a natural fit and a completely vegetarian menu is a a first for downtown restaurants and seems to be overdue. The investor I spoke to said, “I don’t think there is a better location east of Nashville.”
The hoped for start date is July 1, just after the bulk of the festivals, but in time for the heavy summer foot-traffic downtown experiences when schools are out. Hours at the other franchise locations are 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM, but the group is considering having later hours for downtown.
The company also offers catering for groups, and online ordering as well as ordering through their app.