April 13, 2012

Jar Bar

Philadelphia's resident vegan blogger-guru, Kelly over at Living on the Vedge, recently reported back after checking out the newest addition to the healthy food scene, Jar Bar.  While we're far from maintaining vegan status, it's nice to have the option to grab a quick and tasty snack while out and about... without consuming a ton of added sugar and, well, crap.  About a year ago, while in the mood for a green juice (a great way to get an extra hit of nutrients), we stopped in at FUEL and walked out with a $4 cup of apple juice with a few spinach leaves blended in.  As you might imagine, we were eager to check out what (hopefully improvements) Jar Bar had to offer.

Jar Bar is actually the store-front for a juice cleanse program, Catalyst Cleanse, with a small juice and raw foods to-go counter up front.  We were the only customers in the huge space, which is awkwardly empty save for the reverberating sounds of employees working behind the scenes.  A large shelf stocked with veggies, a refrigerated case with a few solid food selections... and a whole lot of empty space.  Perhaps they're planning on expanding?

The majority of the menu is made up by juices and "elixirs"- code word for a chilled smoothie type concoction.  You have the option of choosing a from a list of predetermined ingredient combinations or getting a little crazy and inventing your own drink.  And they aren't cheap- juices start at $5.50 and elixirs top out at almost $10.  Want a little kick of ginger? That'll be 75 cents extra.

However, I think the price reflects the quality of the ingredients, and certainly in the case of the juices, the quantity.  I ordered the "special" juice of the day- a green apple base with collards, parsley, lemon, cucumber, and kale ($6).  The... juice barista?... picked up a large basket and started filling it with ingredients from the shelves of produce.  Apparently in order to make 16 ounces of juice, you need a TON of fruits and veggies.

The process of extracting all of the juicy goodness requires a super fancy juicer (more $$).  Juices are made to order, so they're room temp, but you're getting the freshest product possible.  The dark green product had a good inch of frothy foam- a by-product of a serious trip through the juicer.  The tartness from the green apple was the first thing I noticed- barely sweet at all, which I appreciated.  Acidity from the lemon balances the earthy "green" flavors from the leafy ingredients.  Overall I thought it was quite refreshing.

We also had our eye on one of the elixir's- the mint chocolate chip ($6.75).  Great as an ice cream flavor, great in a cookie (hello, Thin Mints), but great in the form of a healthy smoothie?  You bet.  A combination of hemp milk, raw cacao nibs (think unprocessed, unsweetened chocolate chips), vegan vanilla protein powder, hemp seeds, and mint extract.  No frozen ingredients, but the combination of chilled milk and the texture provided by the high-protein seeds and powder provides a rich, milkshake thickness, although as a warning, don't expect sugary milkshake flavor.  Bits of bitter cacao nibs require a little chewing, adding to the enjoyment.

Yes, prices are steep, but try buying these ingredients at your local Whole Foods.  They're expensive.  So in lieu of stocking up on everything you need to make this at home, treat yourself to a refreshing beverage- served up raw and healthy.

Jar Bar
113 S. 12th Street


  1. Jar Bar was quite busy the day I stopped by. The salad and juice were perfection! I left feeling full and oh so healthy!

  2. Glad you liked it! The mint chip elixir is my favorite. I'm also really enjoying the sprouted humus nori wrap. I had the same experience at Fuel and am so glad we have a real juice bar now in Philly!