Conversations with Inspiring Women in Orlando Food Industry Series
Ready for a bit of food, wellness, travel, and entrepreneurial inspiration? Let me introduce you to Susan “Sue” Buttery, the dynamic owner of Juice Bar in Orlando. I had a wonderful chat with her as part of my “Inspiring Women in Orlando’s Food Industry” series.
During a media visit promoting The Milk District’s “The Almond Milk District” campaign, I had the pleasure of meeting Sue and was immediately inspired.
The “You’re Kale-in It!” fresh-pressed green juice, the spicy hummus, and a surprisingly scrumptious chia seed muffin she treated us to certainly gave me a boost. But it was her brief introduction sharing her story about how she started Juice Bar that really intrigued me. And, I wanted to know more.
I’m a fan of entrepreneurs’ start up stories, especially women in the food industry. Maybe, because like my own journey leaving the corporate world and venturing on my own 7 years ago, they usually involve an “aha” moment, a reinvention, a shift and a passion to do more. And to do it differently! Sue’s story and insights did not disappoint. And she’s as sassy as her fiery homemade hot sauce.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration to live a cleaner, healthier lifestyle, thinking about your “someday list” or considering your next move in life in 2021, I hope this post will inspire you to #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip, and trip at a time.
Where is Juice Bar in Orlando?
Juice Bar is located on 2413 East South Street, in The Milk District, a lively Orlando neighborhood and one of 10 Main Street Districts in the city. This area, named after the T.G. Lee Dairy plant, is packed with hip independent restaurants, sandwich shops, breweries, delis, and more. And despite the dairy reference, there’s plenty of vegan and plant based options, as we learned on our tour.
Juice Bar is also right next door to Orlando Power Yoga. And that’s no coincidence. But more on that later.
I’ve driven by this commercial strip along South Street, by the 408 expressway, many times and never noticed the yellow “Juice Bar” sign. It goes to show you how much goodness is sometimes hidden in plain sight.
How many wonderful local businesses do we drive by, and miss, every day?
I’m so glad Zac Alfson of The Milk District included this “hidden to me” gem on the tour.
Juice Bar celebrated their 8th anniversary in December 2020 and enjoy a very loyal following. I’m probably the only one that’s been missing out. Anyone who lives in the area near Downtown Orlando knows about this quaint little shop that peddles goodness in the form of fresh-made cold-pressed juices, wellness shots, and healthy bites.
Made To Order Fresh Pressed Juices.
Juicing as a way to get your vitamins, minerals and antioxidants has been around for a long time, since the 1970’s. If you bought a juicer and tried it at home, you know what a pain it is to not only buy all the fresh and perishable fruits and vegetables (it takes an inordinate amount to produce just one glass!) but then to clean the machine. Ugh! That’s enough to derail anyone’s best-intentioned wellness plan.
Finding a fresh pressed juice that is well balanced with fruits, greens, roots and spices AND that also tastes good is key to getting the most from this lifestyle. After all, if it doesn’t taste good, you won’t do it for long.
Sue at Juice Bar Orlando comes to the rescue for anyone who wants to juice without all the hassle.
In fact, they are one of the few juice bars in town that offer made to order juices. “Most juice bars offer pre-packaged juices and we pride ourselves on offering both. You can get anything in your juice that you would like from our menu for a truly fresh made to order juice,” says Sue.
Juice Cleanses, Immunity Boosts and The Pandemic
Juice cleanses are especially popular to kickstart a healthy diet, cleanse the body and recover from all the processed foods, heavy meals, and indulgences of the holidays. Or just to get rid of all the bad vibes from this past year!
In fact, fresh juices and wellness shots have risen in popularity since the pandemic started in March 2020.
The aptly named “The Virus Killah” juice with fresh-pressed beet, carrot, celery, orange, garlic, and cilantro juices aids with detox, energy and most importantly boosting immunity. It’s been a favorite since the Juice Bar opened in 2012. And while it won’t prevent you from getting Covid-19 – so please follow all mandated precautions – boosting our immunity is always a plus.
How To Get Started With A Juice Cleanse?
I’ve never done a juice cleanse, so I asked Sue for the best way to start juicing, to detox, and to enjoy more clean eating.
“For more clean eating I recommend getting off dairy. It clogs your system and if you must eat meat, buy organic meats only.” advises Sue.
When it comes to juicing she says: “the prep work of the veggies & fruits and the cleaning of the machine seem to be the most daunting elements for people when it comes to home juicing. I advise you to get one juice a day from us and if you like how you feel, then invest in a $100 juicer to start at home juicing. Our best customers are ones that have a juicer at home but hate cleaning up afterwards. They realize how hard it is to keep up a daily juicing routine.”
You can order a one day cleanse to test the waters and see how you like it. It’s also a good break for your system. Three to Five Day Cleanses are most common for a reboot. And Ten Days is where real healing work kicks in, according to Sue.
Cleanses must be ordered 72 hours in advance to ensure that you prepare your body properly for the cleanse. Yes, there’s a bit of prep work. From cutting out caffeine and nicotine use to getting your mindset ready. Don’t worry. You’ll get all the instructions in advance.
Juice Bar Comes With a Solid Restaurant Background.
Sue shared: “Since a very young age, I had always wanted to own a restaurant. I majored in Biology from Florida State University and never did anything with that degree. But I still had my dreams of opening a restaurant and in September of 1995, I opened up Po’boys in downtown Orlando which then became Crooked Bayou in 2003. I specialized in cajun/creole cuisine and had a very loyal following. After 15 years of owning a restaurant in the heart of downtown Orlando, I successfully sold my restaurant at the end of 2010 and took time off to travel and to figure out what was next in life for me.”
Sue’s story of owning a restaurant and then selling it to take time off to travel piqued my interest. I can relate. Although she didn’t mention the word, “burnout” in the hospitality industry it is not uncommon. It’s a tough business. One that always involves passion, loving food, and loving to serve people. But also one that involves crazy hours and no time off. Which is why I love sharing the stories of the people behind the foodie magic around us. I find restaurant owners, managers, chefs, cooks and servers are often the most underappreciated of essential workers.
As a restaurant owner and food’preneur, food is an important part of your life. What inspired you to share your passion for food with the world?
“I enjoy cooking and love sharing tasty recipes with friends and customers. I worked at a restaurant in Tallahassee and was the first female they hired to learn the kitchen and help manage the spot. Then I helped them open another location by the capitol and was hooked on the restaurant business. When I opened up my place at the age of 24, I was nervous but was confident enough in my product to share it with anyone who walked through my doors,” she says.
Why a juice bar? How did your love of juices start?
“In 2009, I saw the documentary, The Gerson Miracle, and that got me hooked on a daily juicing routine at home. I don’t drink caffeine so when I started juicing raw veggies and fruits I felt an amazing burst of energy.”
“After I sold my bar, I would take yoga classes at Orlando Power Yoga and in between classes I would pedal home to make a fresh juice after class. A few days, I would pedal my juice creation back up to OPY and give it to the owner, Kelly Senn. She loved my juices and we joked about how cool it would be for me to put a juice bar next to her yoga studio.”
Back to Orlando Power Yoga. And the importance of great collaborations and friendships with other like minded businesses.
“In the middle of 2012, Kelly called and informed me that her neighbor was moving out and that I should reach out to her to take over her lease. I did just that and the rest is history. A juice bar is much simpler to run than a full-service restaurant and bar and I enjoyed the health aspect of my new business,” she says.
Let’s Talk About The Menu! What are the MUST EAT and MUST DRINK items at the Juice Bar?
Must Eats at Juice Bar:
During our media visit, Sue treated us to her vegan, gluten-free chai muffin topped with a coconut cream frosting. It was so surprisingly moist, rich and delicious. So good in fact, I took several home. It’s a “Must Eat” according to Sue and I agree.
We also sampled a wonderful spicy hummus, made in house. Perfect with celery sticks. And the menu features wraps and other light bites.
Must Drinks at Juice Bar:
As far as drinks, there are several juices of course and your favorite will depend on your preferences. Word of advice, don’t be afraid to try one even if you’re not a fan of a particular fruit or vegetable in the mix. You will be surprised.
“You’re Kale-in it” green juice with kale, orange, green apple, and lemon fresh pressed juices is the most popular. It’s also the sweetest on the menu which is no coincidence to its popularity. It’s great for detox,energy and immunity boost as well as to maintain skin health.
I enjoyed the “Sassy Grassy” green juice with spinach, kale, celery, cucumber, apple, and mint. It was not as sweet and had a lovely bright and refreshing flavor. It was also not a celery bomb like many juices with celery tend to be. Great for detox, digestion and skin health.
The vibrant purple hued “The Spice of Life” juice made with fresh pressed beets, carrots, apple, spinach, orange, and turmeric is full of nutrients, antioxidants and absorbable iron. It was sweet as roasted beets tend to be but without any earthy grittiness, you often get from beets. I took this one home too, and loved it!
The menu features a variety of juices including seasonal options and you can also have a fresh juice made to order with the ingredients of your choosing.
Another surprise for me was her fresh made Almond Mylk. I am not an almond milk fan and often avoid it when I see it on menus. This one was so enjoyable it completely changed my outlook and I took some home. Made with organic raw almonds, filtered water, dates and vanilla it was a perfect pairing for my chia muffin in the morning.
Travel Inspiration: Jamaica, Portugal, The Greek Islands & British Columbia
Our current travel lockdown and cool weather has me dreaming of travel. And since we are traveling only via our taste buds right now, I had to ask Sue about her travel memories and where she wants to travel next.
Is there an item on your menu that brings back great memories of a place you’ve visited?
Sue tells me: “Serving up fresh juice reminds me of Jamaica. I spent time at the Rockhouse Resort in Negril and they use the same juicer as I do and it was so nice to get fresh juice and ginger shots each day of my vacation.”
When travel opens up, where do you wish to go first?
“Well, seeing as this is my 50th birthday year, I had plans to travel to Portugal and the Greek Isles for my birthday month in April.”
Sue’s birthday is one day before mine so no wonder I felt such an affinity. Portugal and The Greek Isles are in the top 5 on my “someday list” too!
She mentions she “also wanted to visit Vancouver and Victoria Island during the summer months. If I must wait until 2022 then so be it. I am just happy that my family and friends have remained healthy during this terrible time.”
I can attest, having visited the beautiful area of Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia during summer a few years ago, that I can’t wait to return.
Sharing great food is best with friends and family. What’s your go-to dish and drink for easy entertaining at home?
“Buffalo jackfruit dip has been my main appetizer dish for the last two years. It’s a big hit whenever I bring it to parties or when I serve it up at home. It contains homemade vegan ranch dressing, homemade vegan cashew nut sauce, my own hot sauce, jackfruit, and vegan cream cheese.”
“Serve it hot with tortilla chips and celery sticks. My go-to alcoholic beverages are either IPAs or for booze, it would be a London mule press with gin, soda water, and two splashes of ginger beer served with a lime.”
I got a bottle of “Sassy Sue” hot sauce and have added it to everything from scrambled eggs to tuna salad and soup. It’s fantastic. I can imagine this Buffalo jackfruit dip is tasty!
In 2020, we learned more than ever to appreciate life and our time with loved ones. I think it’s a great time to review our “Someday List” every chance we get and make a plan to check things off and #MakeSomedayHappen. In case you’re wondering, I define a “someday list” as a more realistic/ attainable version of your bucket list which includes experiences you wish to enjoy that you keep putting off to “someday” when you have time. It also includes aspirations for your business you wish to make happen.
What is at the top of your “someday list”?
“My someday list for Juice Bar would be to add more equipment to add acai bowls and smoothies to our menu. We currently don’t have the space for those items right now. My future someday list is to open up another restaurant. I have a great concept, menu, and name ready to go. Now I just need to find a pre-existing restaurant space,” she shares.
As a woman-owned small business, what is your advice to other entrepreneurs who are inspired by your story?
“My advice to other entrepreneurs is to always treat your staff the way you want to be treated. They are your lifeline to your business being successful and if your employees are unhappy your business will not succeed. Remember their birthdays and give timely raises when deserved. Always show them your appreciation.”
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
I loved Sue’s favorite quote comes from Billy Joel’s “Only The Good Die Young” song:
“I’d rather laugh with the sinners than die with the saints because the sinners have much more fun.”– Billy Joel
I know I’ll never give up enjoying my favorite decadent treats, so on that note, I will continue to laugh with the sinners and a bottle of fresh-pressed juice to balance things out! Life is all about moderation.
Whether you’re looking to re-charge this new year, add a bit more fruits and veggies to your diet, or need a bit of positive inspiration, energy, and immunity boost, I hope you’ll stop by Juice Bar and visit Sue and her team.
Get a freshly made juice to order or take some bottled cold-pressed juices home to go. I haven’t done a full juice cleanse yet but have enjoyed one juice a day and I feel great!
Where Can I Get Juice Bar Fresh Pressed Juices in Orlando?
In addition to picking up at the Juice Bar, you’ll find bottled fresh pressed juices at Market on South and Eola General.
Order ahead by calling 407-446-9257 for curbside pickup. Inquire about delivery options too! If you want a large order, give them at least one day notice. Everything is made fresh, and it’s time and labor intensive.
Freshly pressed juices, wellness shots & healthy bites are available during business hours 7 days a week. Remember to order your juice cleanse in advance!
Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs in Orlando Series
As I continue to turn to amazing female entrepreneurs for inspiration, I hope you’ll enjoy these stories. Check out my previous conversations in the series with Pom of Pom Pom’s Teahouse, Mayor’s Project Pop, Evette of Sister Honey’s, and Sheila of B Cupcakes for more women chefs and entrepreneurs who rock!
If you found a bit of delicious inspiration from Sue’s story and insights, please share this post with your friends.
If you know any women food’preneurs with an inspiring story, please message me. I would love to meet them!
“You know I have never met a woman who is not strong. They don’t exist.”-Diane von Furstenberg
Go check out Juice Bar, be inspired by Sue’s story, and #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip, and trip at a time!