By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor
Guests sampled juices, asked questions and chatted with team members as they waited for a smoothie to be blended up at Boca Raton’s Raw Juce. The original location on Glades Road was packed with people waiting for their favorite post-workout blend.
“I love this,” founder Barry Rabkin said of his flagship store and the throng of people. “This is my life.”
Rabkin said got into juicing after he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009. He said he felt mentally depressed even though he had great doctors and surgeons. Usually high-energy, he said he couldn’t get that feeling back until someone introduced him to juicing.
“Instantly I felt better,” he said, adding he was no longer craving unhealthy foods.
At Whole Foods, he said he would load up his cart with every fruit and vegetable and then experiment blending different concoctions in his kitchen.
“I would juice jugs of juice,” he said. “I did it for the nutrients not for the taste. I was feeling amazing. I had so much energy. I felt like Superman.”
He said he felt a change in his body, his skin and felt like he exuding a glow that everyone around him seemed to notice. He said juicing allows you to consume three to five pounds of fruits and vegetables in one serving. The nutrients flush through your body and help you feel full, he said.
It was at that point that he turned to his neighbor Jeff Levine, who started Salad Creations. He said he thought he could turn his juices into a fast-casual style restaurant like Salad Creations.
He made a juice for Levine and he said Levine told him he better pay attention to the taste of the juices because if they didn’t taste good he wouldn’t have a business.
So, they got to work on the flavors with the help from a professional chef. A little over three years ago, the first Raw Juce opened in Boca Raton.
The company is headquartered in Boca along with its commissary where the juices are made. The company is USDA certified organic.
Rabkin and one of his managers Teddy Kaufman, who has been with the company since its inception, said they knew nothing about the restaurant world when the store opened. Rabkin used to work with hedge funds.
But, they said they had confidence and swagger like they knew what they were doing. That attitude they said helped propel them into success.
“We wanted to be the Starbucks of juicing,” Rabkin said, explaining that when you walk into different stores you know you are in a Raw Juce.
With a total of five stores and several more in the pipeline, the two said they have begun to achieve that goal.
“I love that all the Raw Juces are what we wanted to create,” Kaufman said.
A third Boca location will be opening soon in the Park Place shopping plaza. Other planned locations include South Beach, the Turnberry Hotel and Coral Gables.
Rabkin said he wants to open as many stores as possible. Currently, he employs more than 200 team members. A lot of them attending Florida Atlantic University, Lynn University and local high schools, he said.
Part of the culture is not calling it work. Rabkin calls it a party every day and will ask team members if they are having fun.
In addition to the more than 20 flavors of cold-pressed juices, Raw Juce serves acai bowls, smoothies and salads.
F.O.Y.- A juice with cucumber, spinach, celery, lemon and e3 live
Square Root- A juice with beet, gala apple, lemon, ginger and aloe water
Berry Hemp Banana Acai Bowl- A bowl filled with banana, mango, acai, almond mylk, raw honey topped with hemp seeds, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, raw cacao nibs, chopping raw almonds.
OMG Proten smooth-e-lixer- add blueberries- A smoothie with cashew mylk, almond mylk, banana, almond butter, oats, sea salts, vega sport protein, raw honey and chopped almonds.
Banana Cinnamon Chrunch Raw Oatmeal Parfait- A parfait with bananas flax and hemp granola layered with raw almond mylk oatmeal topped with cinnamon and raw honey.
Kale Caesar Quinoa Salad- Organic Kale Caesar salad and avo-quinoa.
By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor