The next time you're in the mood for something fast, easy, cheap and tasty, don't settle for traditional fast food. If you happen to be in the Boynton Beach area, swing by JuiceBerry, instead.
One part juice and smoothie bar, one part vegetarian-vegan lunch stop, JuiceBerry is serving up fast, fresh and easy nutritional chow, according to owner Ardasher "Alex" Asadullaev. Also the chef, Russian-born Asadullaev was once responsible for all seven restaurants at the Mardi Gras Casino complex in Hallandale Beach, honing the skills he learned while attending military school in Uzbekistan by cooking all manner of cuisine as the casino's executive and saucier chef.
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Asadullaev's newfound passion, however, is for healthy eating -- and he's created a solid menu of raw, vegetarian and vegan dishes to prove it. Open for just over a year, JuiceBerry is best known by area local for its creative fruit and vegetables juices, health "shots," smoothies, meal replacement shakes, and -- of course -- a good variety of fresh soups, salads and sandwiches. There's even a special meal replacement and detox program for those looking to slim down.
Clean Plate Charlie: When did you open?
Alex Asadullaev: We opened one year ago today [August 31, 2012]. It's been a good first year. I love the area, and we have a lot of loyal customers.
You've created menus for some restaurants that are anything but health-conscious. Why did you decide to open a juice bar?
Well, you have to go with the trends. Over the past few years people [in South Florida] are becoming more and more health oriented, and I wanted a place that served all health-conscious food. For me, personally, it makes me feel better than serving people alcohol and [food void of nutrition].
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Have you changed your own diet since opening JuiceBerry?
Yes, as a matter of fact I've lost weight over the past year. I am down from 250 pounds to 215. And I'm not the only one; an employee [at a neighboring business] recently lost over 10 pounds since coming to us for lunch and many of her meals. I feel a lot better, and I'm surrounded by people who care about their health and well-being.
Tell us about the menu. What are your most popular selections?
Much of what we serve is organic, and all our food is made here, fresh every day. We don't have any additives -- no added sugars, fillers or pre-made ingredients. The soups and salad are our most popular, especially our guacamole soup [served with whole wheat pita bread and lime]. The Cobb salad is our best-seller, and the "Hawaiian Dream," which has free-range grilled chicken, strawberry, avocado, pineapple and kiwi served with our raspberry vinaigrette. Our house vinaigrette is a favorite.
Your juice, smoothie and shake menu has over 20 selections. The "Elixir of Youth" sounds great with avocado, grapefruit, strawberry, spinach, garlic, ginger and wheatgrass. Are these your own recipes?
Yes, everything on the menu is mine. You won't find anything copied from other [stores], or juices and drinks from other [juice bars]. The most popular juice is our "Go Green," a combination of broccoli, cucumber, celery, parsley, kale, green apple and spinach.
You have a three-day juice cleanse. What does that include?
For $55 we have our own juice cleanses. They are available for people to order and take-out. We prepare them here fresh, and you can take them to drink [at work or home] to use as meal replacements. You can order any three or five juices you like, but our most popular is the "rainbow cleanse" named because of the color of the six juices, starting with a green "immunizer."
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.