Lindsay Nader grew up with juice, but her career path took a couple of turns before she landed in San Diego, CA, as the owner of a juice bar.
After studying performing arts in both high school and college, Lindsay moved to New York City. Although she was successful in getting work as an actress, she needed to supplement her income and took a job as hostess at a cocktail bar.
“It was a speakeasy-style place,” said Lindsay. “Behind a wall in a dingy hot dog shop, you’d go into a phone booth and buzz. A secret door opened to this teeny little beautiful bar. I fell in love with the whole thing – the ceremony of it, the drinks and spirits. I discovered a culinary sensibility about myself, and I asked them to train me to bartend. I learned the highest form of making cocktails before I even held a soda gun.”
It didn’t take long for Lindsay to become an accomplished mixologist. She worked for a major spirits company; travelling, educating and developing cocktails. “The job required a lot of late nights with drinking and entertaining,” she said. “My boyfriend was in the same line of work, so when we had nights off or down time in the morning, we’d juice to round out and supplement our lifestyle. I really fell in love with juicing.”
But juicing wasn’t new to Lindsay. She grew up in a health-conscious environment, and her mother juiced at home. Lindsay says that she always wanted to own her own business, so she and her boyfriend decided to use their nest egg and move from Los Angeles to San Diego and establish a juice bar.
Lindsay says that they made the move because the cold-pressed juice market in Los Angeles was saturated. “San Diego is a very healthy city,” she said. “People are physically fit. I knew we could do it and make it work – I wanted to bring some of the options I saw in Los Angeles down here.” A partnership with Consortium Holdings, a group focused on improving San Diego’s social landscape, helped Lindsay open Juice Saves.
The goal of Juice Saves is to make and serve cold-pressed, unpasteurized juice blends using raw fruits and vegetables. But what’s behind the development of healthful drinks with names like Green Peace, Apple A Day, Pulp Fiction and Drop the Beet?
“I took the exact same approach as if I was developing a cocktail menu,” said Lindsay. “I worked with a friend who is a nutritionist in New York. I knew what flavors I wanted, and had a menu in mind. She helped me make sure everything was nutritious and gave me some pointers about some supplements.”
In order to come up with inviting combinations that would bring repeat customers, Lindsay referred to Los Angeles juice bar menus. “I looked at what was successful,” she said. “I pulled from what I knew was working for them, but I wanted to start small and compartmentalized. I wanted to give people the full spectrum – from greens to fruits. There are sweet, more approachable greens all the way to a savory, salty drink with greens, lemon and ginger.”
During the development phase, Lindsay juiced each of the potential components, carefully measuring with a bartender’s jigger. She changed the ratios of each ingredient until the blend was balanced. “I also had a lot of people try the drinks because everyone perceives taste differently,” she said. “There was a lot of experimenting and a lot of notes.”
With some basic ideas underway, Lindsay took what she refers to as the cocktail approach. “There’s a craft cocktail renaissance,” she said. “There’s a way to do it, and a way to not to do it. There’s the kind of bar where the customer walks in and looks at the menu, and it’s so advanced that they recoil and they just order a beer. It’s the same thing with this. There are so many supplements and so many combinations that people will say ‘I just want a smoothie’. It can be too much to comprehend, so I wanted to start at the most basic level and not be the nerdiest juice bar or source the most exotic ingredients. I wanted an everyman’s juice bar for every income, making it an everyday thing and not just a treat.”
A hydraulic press is center stage at Juice Saves. “It’s the most favorable extraction process because it doesn’t apply any heat or air,” said Lindsay. “The result is a creamy, rich juice without any aeration, and nutrient density that lasts two to three days while refrigerated. It’s an all-around better product.” After pressing, juices are carefully blended and bottled on site. Although bottling is currently done by hand, Lindsay says that Juice Saves will likely invest in a bottling line.
Lindsay says that cold pressing results in consistent blends. “It isn’t half a cucumber, some celery and an apple and it comes out a little different each time,” she said. “People fall in love with a juice, and it’s going to taste the same every time they come in.” Lindsay says that the chunks of fresh fruits and vegetables in the juices are an integral part of the product. “There’s something really satiating about mastication,” she said, describing one smoothy-type beverage that includes almond milk, chopped dates, diced bananas, sea salt, cinnamon, coconut palm sugar and vanilla extract. “It triggers the stomach to start releasing digestive enzymes.”
Sourcing the freshest ingredients is important to Lindsay, and she tries to use locally produced fruits and vegetables whenever possible. However, using solely organic and local produce would raise the cost of beverages substantially. She orders most ingredients through a specialty supplier that provides solid information about each listing. “I can see where everything comes from, and I get to hand-pick,” she said. “Some is grown locally, but it’s really difficult now, especially with the drought. Everything is in short supply.”
After garnering a loyal following shortly after opening in the summer of 2014, Juice Saves has recently moved to a more spacious location. They’re now sharing space with Coffee & Tea Collective, a small-batch roastery and tasting room.
For those who are new to cold-pressed juices, Lindsay has some pointers. “It depends on what you’re used to,” she said. “If your diet consists of a lot of processed food and sugar, you might taste what we consider a sweet juice and think it isn’t sweet. For someone who has never had a green juice, we’ll start they off with a sweet juice, then move to the next one, then maybe we’ll get some wheatgrass in there.”
Although Juice Saves doesn’t blend juices to order, ingredients such as citrus and ginger are available for people who want to add more of those flavors to a juice. “We try to meet a lot of different needs,” said Lindsay. “I think we’ve done a good job with the menu. There’s something for everybody.”
Visit Juice Saves on line at www.godblessjuice.com