Clean Juice, a 100% organic smoothie and juice bar, opened in Birkdale earlier this month and is already creating some serious buzz. In fact, the reader who tipped us off on it said, “It’s the talk of Lake Norman.” That’s a pretty bold statement so I decided to drive 30 minutes north for a smoothie.
Clean Juice is located in Birkdale Village right next door to Pure Barre and down the road from lululemon, a prime location in a neighborhood full of people who are down for buying $10 organic beverages. (I’m not judging; I am this target market.) They offer a hefty menu of 28 different made-to-order cold-pressed juices, smoothies and acai bowls (which are blended fruit bowls topped with granola) as well as custom build-your-own options.
And, of course, there is that whole juice cleanse thing where you have the opportunity to consume nothing but juice for 1 to 5 days.
- 1-day juice cleanse – 6 juices, $51
- 2-day juice cleanse – 12 juices, $102
- 3-day juice cleanse – 18 juices, $150
- 5-day juice cleanse – 30 juices, $250
I don’t play the juice cleanse game so I got The Chocolate One, a blend of cacao, almond butter, dates, banana, cinnamon and almond milk. It was awesome and is pretty much exactly like one I make at home. I inhaled it in about 90 seconds.
Aside from a solid menu and killer branding, I’m also pretty jealous of the cool couple who thought to make this happen. Clean Juice is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Landon and Kat Eckles who just moved their family to Charlotte last year. Here’s what she had to say about the evolution of her own eating habits, settling in Charlotte and most importantly maybe expanding to more locations closer to… me.
Where did you live before Charlotte in 2014? What do you think so far?
We are from the Northeast (spent time outside of NYC and Philadelphia) and moved to Lake Norman last August. There aren’t words to describe how happy we are that we made the jump and how much we love it here! The weather is perfect, people are so friendly & welcoming, and it is such a young, thriving area with so much to do.
Why did you decide to open a smoothie and juice bar in the Charlotte area? (Any particular reason for the Birkdale location?)
When we were deciding to move here, we talked with family that lived in the area about the need for a juice bar. We’ve seen them be very successful in the Northeast and in California and out West & didn’t see any reason that the Charlotte market wasn’t ready for one. We came down to look at locations and knew that we wanted to start out in Lake Norman because that is where we would be living. We saw the spot available in Birkdale next to Pure Barre (they are wonderful) and knew it would be a perfect fit.
You obviously have personal experience with juicing. Was there a certain turning point that got you interested in eating for your health?
We have 4 kids and when I (Kat) had our first daughter 8 years ago I knew that I wanted to make sure I was making the healthiest choices I could to keep my body healthy and to pass down my habits to my kids. I was a recovering Taco Bell addict, and I began reading so much about how the food we put into our bodies mattered. We started eating organic (on a teeny, tiny just-graduated-college single income ) and tried to eat tons of fruits and veggies. The easiest way I found to get as many servings as possible was to make a huge green smoothie in the morning. I have done that almost daily for the last 8 years and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made! If I don’t have a smoothie or juice I feel sluggish and just not myself for the rest of the day. Landon watched how great I felt & how easily I was able to maintain my weight & he joined in a few years later.
Who came up with the recipes? What’s your personal favorite?
After inception of Clean Juice, we spent about a year coming up with the menu. We would go on huge grocery runs and just juice and blend and see what tasted good & what didn’t…which ones tasted great but had too many sugars or calories. We would have our family and friends and our kids & their friends taste test all the time! When doing the initial menu we wanted to make sure that we had a little bit of everything – something for the ‘hardcore’ juicer that can easily down an all green drink, to something for someone who hasn’t eaten anything green in years. It’s been fun to have customers come in and create their own drink – some have been SO good that we consider putting them on the menu! We hope to constantly add new drinks, whether specials for different seasons (pumpkin season is coming up… yay!), or new creations that are just too good not to share. My personal favorite is The Protection One Juice & The Tropical One Smoothie. Landon created & loves The Recovery One Protein Smoothie & loves The Detoxifying One juice.
Most importantly: When will you open a location in the city? Seriously though, are there plans to expand to more locations?
Ahh… we would absolutely LOVE to expand into Charlotte. We have already had inquires about investment and franchise opportunities, so we are just praying through it and hope that the right opportunity for expansion is brought to our attention and we are able to move forward with it. We do have almost solidified plans to have a juice truck by the end of summer which will allow us to travel & sell our cold-pressed juices.