First Look: Juice Leaf to Open This Week Downtown

Juice bars have soared in popularity over the past year, with several different franchises opening up in the Central Arkansas area recently. Now a new local business is expanding on the juice bar idea in the downtown area. Juice Leaf will open this week, offering fresh-pressed juice, smoothies and some unique items for both breakfast and lunch. We stopped in ahead of Juice Leaf’s grand opening to see what the new place has in store.

Juice Leaf is situated on Louisiana Street next to Subway in the space that once held U.S. Pizza express and The Pizza Hole. The space is clean and simply adorned with space for 30­–40 diners. The menu, however, is anything but simple, with more than a dozen juice and smoothie options as well as three wrap varieties and a new kind of dish called a smoothie bowl.

“Usually with a juice bar, you have your juices, smoothie options, maybe a health shot,” said Juice Leaf manager Brittnee Suffern “We decided to have smoothie bowls. If you want to eat something a little thicker, they’re going to have toppings on the top, and it should give you a fuller feeling, like you ate something rather than drank your lunch.”

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All of Juice Leaf juice options will be made to order from fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other ingredients like coconut water and green tea. Most juices are geared toward a particular health benefit, such as boosting antioxidants, reducing inflammation or just helping you move past a rough night. Serving pressed juice immediately is vital to keeping the juice from spoiling, so the fact that Juice Leaf is pressing fruits and vegetables on the fly is a good sign.

No juice bar would be complete without smoothies on the menu, and Juice Leaf has some of the more unique smoothies I’ve seen. No smoothie on the menu has fewer than six ingredients, and most have eight or more. And many of these smoothies have some exotic components, like sunflower butter, hemp seeds and cayenne pepper. I can tell you the two I tried were delicious and made recommending Juice Leaf for your morning smoothie an easy decision.

While I didn’t get to try any smoothie bowls, I did sample a couple of Juice Leaf’s wraps, which can be made in a traditional tortilla, served as a lettuce wrap or in a thin, Indian crepe called a dosa. I highly recommend the dosa, which is just thick enough to hold the wrap together while giving the dish a light, enjoyable crispy texture. The lettuce wrap was also impressive, with huge iceberg lettuce leaves giving a fresh crunch to any of the menu’s six wrap options.

Juice Leaf is planning a soft open for Wednesday, with the grand opening to be officially announced after that. It will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. to start out. Check Juice Leaf’s Facebook page for the latest on its opening day plans.

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First Look: Juice Leaf to Open This Week Downtown