Capri Sun? Been there, sipped that. Now introduce your kid to Chicago’s fresh-squeezed juice scene. (Psst. . . it’s a great way to sneak in veggies!) We hopped around to town to find juice bars and cafes that focus on the all-natural stuff and have family-friendly atmospheres to boot. Grab a tall, healthy glass at one of these sunny spots, or take it to go and mosey through a park.
photo: Real Good Juice Co.
Real Good Juice Co.
Why it deserves a squeeze: The locally owned spot will be your new favorite place to pop in for a sandwich and cold-pressed juice, and treat the kids to a special smoothie. They also get points for convenience with their online ordering option.
Real Good Juice Co. now has several locations in the city and you can find them in Whole Foods, as well. They offer 10-ounce cold-pressed juices which boast three pounds of organic produce per bottle and come with witty names like Juicille Ball and Punky Juice-ster. For a snack, there is dehydrated fruit and granola, or try the AB & J toast topped with homemade almond butter and jam.
Locations in the city and the ‘burbs
Why it deserves a squeeze: A must-visit for weekend brunch, this Greektown staple has fresh squeezes on the daily, good for sipping on the spot or on the go.
You may know this neighborhood fave for its Greek-inflected breakfast and brunch menu. We’re talking scramblers, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, French toast, pancakes and waffles, plus vegan and gluten-free options (hello, polenta pancakes). But you’d be remiss in missing the juice bar, a pivotal portion of Meli’s menu. Beyond your standard OJ and apple juice (which are both available for traditionalists), Meli ventures into hearty meal-in-a-glass territory with juice blends such as celery-apple-carrot, mango-orange-kiwi-honey and wheatgrass-pineapple-apple-pear-lemon.
301 S. Halsted St., Greektown
Why it deserves a squeeze: This LA-based franchise has been blending juices and smoothies for twenty years so they know how to create a tasty and healthy treat.
This is the only Illinois location of Robeks and juice and smoothie lovers have flocked here for years for favorites like the G-Snap with ginger, carrot and orange and the ABC with apple, beet and carrot juices.
2936 Showplace Dr., Naperville
photo: Harvest Juicery
Why it deserves a squeeze: The owners boast backgrounds in both the restaurant and fitness industries, resulting in the best of both worlds in their unique juice blends.
Fresh, locally sourced, and seasonal fruits and vegetables are the stars of the bottles at Harvest Juicery. Bolstered with life-affirming spices and herbs, each juice medley tastes more like a composed entree or dessert that just so happens to be drinkable. Give your teeth a rest and “chow down” on fruit-based concoctions and green juices. There’s even a watermelon juice and dessert-y smoothies the kids will crave.
Several locations in the city
The Lifeway Kefir Shop
Why it deserves a squeeze: Come for the frozen kefir, yogurt’s quirky BFF, and stay for the just-as-tasty juice.
While they may have built their reputation on frozen kefir (think frozen yogurt, but with more probiotic cultures), Lifeway knows what it’s doing when it comes to fruit. In case the name didn’t make that obvious. Put down the kefir and the spoons for a minute and try their juices. You won’t be disappointed. Especially when the flavor options are as vibrant and alluring as Limelight with apple, cucumber and lime or Invincible that blends apple, lemon and orange.
Three locations in the city
Why it deserves a squeeze: You can get your juice with a side of vegan pizza.
Founded thanks to a Kickstarter campaign and named after owner Alexandra Curatolo’s pet French Bulldog, Belli’s brings healthy, local food to Pilsen. When you walk in, you’re greeted by a colorful menu with concoctions featuring fresh local and organic leafy greens for a daily dose of essential vitamins. For the more adventurous, there is even Kombucha on tap.
1307 W. 18th St., Pilsen
Left Coast Food and Juice
Why it deserves a squeeze: famed Chicago Chef, Paul Kahan, developed the menu.
Start your morning with a Mornin’ Buzz smoothie for you (espresso, cacao, peanut butter, macca powder, banana and dates) and a kid’s Sophia’s Strawberry Milk (cashew milk, strawberries, beet juice powder, agave and vanilla) for your little sidekick. If you’re looking for something more substantial to go with your juice or smoothie, Left Coast has a complete menu divided into First Wave (breakfast), Greens, Grains, Wraps, and, of course, Kiddos.
Locations in Lincoln Park, River North & Loop
— Jen Peterson & Matt Kirouac