A juice bar in our midst?
Folks, this here’s Alabama, where hashbrown casserole is a vegetable, and bacon grease might as well be in a squirt bottle on the table.
However, it’s also Huntsville, which is closing on half a million people in its metropolitan area. Many of us are from elsewhere; most of us are significantly educated. If you’re going to locate a juice bar in Alabama, Huntsville is the place to do it.
And that’s just what founders John and Vui Hunt did. The Huntsville location is the third I Love Juice Bar, and the first outside the Nashville area. Ours is right next to Bonefish Grill, at Airport & Whitesburg.
The boys brought a buddy, and the four of us—juice bar n00bs, all—visited.
Vegetarian? Check. Gluten-free? Check. That makes it potable nirvana for many people. I Love Juice Bar is also organic wherever possible, and makes substantial effort to source its ingredients locally.
I printed the menu for the boys to peruse on the way. By the time we arrived, we had decided we’d each have a green, a shot, and a fruit smoothie.
The experience is classic fast casual. First, you order and pay. Then, they bring your order to your table.
The greens led. Two boys had a Sweet Greens (apple, kale, spinach, cucumber, parsley, and lemon); one had a Fresh Greens (same as Sweet Greens, but sub celery for apple); and I had a Mean Greens (same as Fresh, but add jalapeno).
These are intense.
I’d never had anything so relentlessly green and fresh in my mouth. I don’t have a comparable experience for perspective. The flavors just explode. I enjoyed my Mean Greens tremendously.
We moved next to shots. I’d been curious about a wheat grass shot ever since I saw such depicted in an episode of Sex and the City. We tried a straight wheat grass shot, a Grand Slam (wheat grass with ginger and lemon), and a Grass Monkey (coconut juice with a shot of wheat grass).
Upon trying the shots, we realized we only thought the green juices were intense. Wow. These shots inhabit your soul. You can’t think about anything else for several seconds. It’s an overwhelming botanical sensation.
Observing our reactions, a friendly I Love Juice Bar employee brought us complimentary pineapple juice with which to chase our shots.
When it came time for dessert, we each tried a different fruit smoothie. We had:
- Berry Good (blueberry, banana, cashew, lemon, coconut milk)
- Blue Chocolotta (cocoa powder, almond butter, blueberry, banana, coconut milk)
- Cocoa Banana (cocoa powder, peanut butter, banana, spinach, coconut milk)
- Orange You Smooth (carrot, apple, pineapple, lemon, ginger, mint)
These enjoyed a much warmer reception than our earlier selections. All of these are sweet and tasty, but again, they’ll wallop you. A palate accustomed to mass market offerings might receive a bit of a jolt when learning to enjoy one of these smoothies. Stay with them.
The I Love Juice Bar even has a few munchables available. We had spring rolls, which were fresh and flavorful. They’re very much like what you encounter in a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant, though these were strictly vegetarian. I also spied hummus among the offerings, which I’ll likely try my next time by.
There are also more strictly therapeutic offerings, like essential oils and juice cleanses. We did not explore these, though it would appear they are highly flexible in crafting a program for you, should you be interested in such.
The I Love Juice Bar experience is a high-quality one. The drinks are meticulously prepared, and everyone is friendly and hospitable.
However, know that it is probably not an experience for all of the little people in your home. South of 11 or 12 years old, it would take an especially adventurous child to explore these offerings. Many of the flavors we experienced have no ready analog in typical day-to-day life. The flavors that are familiar are strong indeed.
Most juices and smoothies at the I Love Juice Bar are $6 to $10, and provide an experience worth the price. This is an ideal outing for your older, more daring children.
Monday – Friday 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm