Over the last few months, lots of different juice bars and cafes have been sprouting up in Mill Valley. We’ve been hit with a health craze as restaurants and markets are now highlighting their organic aisles and new, local products. Now, stand-alone shops are offering kale-infused snacks and fruit smoothies, and judging by the ingredients, they seem more like a salad your mom would make during a spurt of health-consciousness. I’m not saying the smoothies are as bad as those homemade creations clipped from quinoa cookbooks. As a matter of fact, I could actually keep the mixture down.
Juice Girl, Urban Remedy, and Nekter Juice Bar have all opened recently, and are popular among Tam students. Each one offers something a little different. All stores offer Juice Cleanses and salad-like smoothies, however each one takes a spin off the ordinary menu and adds specialties like tonics and wellness kits.
Juice Girl has taken over Jamba Juice’s old spot in the Bermuda Triangle of lunch spots for underclassmen. It’s within a five- minute walk of the school and offers students a healthy alternative to frappucinos and chicken tenders for lunch, but at a price. Juice Girl makes a variety of cold-pressed juices, smoothies, salads, and acai bowls, along with more substantial meals.
Compared to the former Jamba Juice menu, customers are expected to pay a little more for their products, but maybe those extra dollars will mean more in the long term when I can get a Minty Mimi smoothie with coconut water, kale, spinach, mint and mango instead of a White Gummy Bear with who-knows-what blended in.
Urban Remedy is located downtown among local favorites such as Stefano’s Pizza and Noci Gelato on East Blithedale. It offers day-by-day cleanses for a “revitalized boost” and “healing nutrients” for on-the-go Mill Valley soccer moms who need an extra burst of energy every week or so.
Urban Remedy, unlike Juice Girl and Nekter Juice Bar only sells pre-made products, but that doesn’t mean they are any less healthy. The selection ranges from juices, to lemonades, to coffee, and even a “Meal in a Bottle.” Urban Remedy also supplies customers with snacks, lunch, dinner, and dessert. However, the prices are a little high, averaging from $7 to $10 for one regular drink.
Nekter Juice Bar is the farthest away of the three, occupying a corner space in the Strawberry Shopping Center. Just as Juice Girl is a common spot for underclassmen, Nekter appeals to upperclassmen who drive, and is an increasingly popular lunch spot. Nekter offers smoothies, juices, and acai bowls. Nekter is the least intimidating to newcomers, and even recommends what bowl to try if you are new to the growing health trend. Nekter’s prices are average, not too expensive, not too cheap, but you still get your money’s worth when you order a smoothie that’s pinker than any processed candy you could ever imagine (I’m looking at you Pink Flamingo) and realize it’s a Farmer’s Market fruit stand in a cup.