When it's family owned, you know what's inside is made with thought and care. Lifestyle Juices is just that. What once was a hair salon now serves freshly made juices of all combinations. We were lucky enough to talk with the owner's younger brother, Xavier, for a behind-the-scenes look at this campus friendly juice bar. 

beer, tea
Beth LeValley

When did Lifestyle Juices open?

We opened in September of 2016. Originally, this was my sisters hair salon, it was Paparazzi Hair Studio and Spa. When she moved down the block, we decided we wanted to open a shop here. At first we were thinking we wanted to do a candy shop, but then we wanted to do something more health conscious and health aware. So we decided to go with a juice bar.

How have you been doing since September?

We have been doing great. Sales are good, especially with the Drake area. The students and people who live around here are a lot of our regular customers. Most customers go to Drake or literally live on this block.

What is your most popular drink?

Our most popular drink, well, it kind of varies a lot. Our fruity drink that is the most popular is the Peach Perfect, which has mango, peaches, banana and grapes. Our green smoothie that is the most popular is our Sweet Greens, which has kale, spinach, kiwi and green apples. And our protein shake that's the most popular is the Burner It has chocolate protein, peanut butter, banana, carrot and rice milk.

Beth LeValley

What strange fruit combinations have you made?

A lot of them come from customers. We will have customers that come in that want really specific things. Some customers like cucumbers, beets and carrots, and i'm just like 'ughh.' Then they will add wheat grass to it too, and if you have ever had wheat grass it really tastes like grass, like you just mowed the lawn. So it's like, oh my gosh, it's overwhelming.

Other people come in, they want just strawberries, or just blueberries or just mango, and those are weird too, but it just depends what the customer wants. Some people just want grapes and green apples, that's all they will have. One I had that was really good was watermelon and pear. Oh my gosh, it was good, and they added a little bit of lemon to it, it was really nice.

What is your favorite drink?

The Bahamian Blast and the Burner–they are both really good. Bahamian Blast has pineapple, papaya and mango. I really like papayas, so it's really my favorite.

What sets you apart from other juice bars in the area?

Ours are made to order, the Juice Company on 42nd does a lot of pre-made juices. They do juices by the gallon and stuff like that. Ours are fresh to order and made right in front of you. That's the main difference.

How did you learn to juice?

I went to New York for training. The owner knows another guy who has a juice bar already established in New York, and I went there for training. I went there September before we opened. So I literally went there at the beginning of September and then we opened mid-September.

I learned mainly what to mix and what not to mix. Some fruit combinations don't go together and some do. You have to be careful with kale, you have to be careful with cucumbers because they are very overpowering, flavorful vegetables. I learned how to clean things after you used peanut butter and when to use a special blender for people who have allergies. We have people come in who are allergic to kiwis or strawberries so we have to use a special blender and wash it. Then I had to learn how to prep all the food. In the morning I come in, and I have to know how to cut the kale and cut the oranges and learn how to peel them properly.

milk, juice, smoothie
Beth LeValley

What made you want to go into the nutrition market?

The owner worked in Chili's and different restaurants for 25 years. One thing he always didn't like about it was some people come in all the time, and it's unhealthy—they are eating unhealthy stuff every day. So he was like 'I want to see my customers come back and I know I am giving them something good. Something that is going to benefit them.' He couldn't serve fast food for the rest of his life, things that are unhealthy.

Where does all of the fruit come from?

Our main supplier is Loffredo Fresh Produce Co., and then we get stuff from the farmer's market. Right now, we aren't getting too much, but come March and April, that's when they start the harvest, we will go to them. We get grapes and mangos from La Tapatia, so we go to local grocery stores and sometimes Hy-Vee if we run out of something during the day. Every day we get something, it's on a need-to-need basis.

What does the future look like?

We are trying to get into a bigger space. The owner of this building wants us by all of his Jimmy John's, so we are trying to spread out. We are trying to expand our menu to have nuts, granola and oatmeals and different things in the mornings. We want to have different kinds of food so people can come in in the morning and get breakfast here with fresh fruit. We are looking into doing fruit cups and international items because we have a few international customers that come in and talk about how back home they just have fresh fruit sliced, so here they will be able to get that in the morning. We also want to have a booth at the Farmer's Market and we also want to do a juice truck. A truck that can go to different events because we want to go to different events too.