Students line up for healthy treats at Village Juice

Students line up for healthy treats at Village Juice

Village Juice’s trendy smoothie bowls and drinks are refreshing alternatives to campus dining.

Chances are, you’ve heard the name Village Juice by now, or you’ve at least seen it in your Snapchat or Instagram feeds. If you haven’t, it’s about time you heard the scoop on the latest juicery-turned-restaurant that has quickly become a Wake Forest student favorite.

What started as purely a juicing business around six years ago took off and now has its own storefront near Zoe’s Kitchen and Brynn’s off of Stratford Road, a mere 15 minutes from campus, making it an ideal spot for college students in need of a healthy snack or meal.

The juicing company was founded in 2010 by Lonnie Atkinson, a North Carolina native who fell in love with natural, raw food while she was living and working in California.

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The juices are cold-pressed, which preserves their enzymes and provides health benefits. The eatery recently expanded its hours to include breakfast and dinner times and has transformed into a full restaurant offering smoothies, smoothie bowls, toasts, salads and grain bowls.

The ever-expanding menu aligns with the company’s mission: “to make eating healthy taste as amazing as it is for your body.”

It has succeeded, consistently crafting healthy creations that are colorful, tasty and begging to be photographed.

One of the many reasons why the restaurant is so appealing to students is that it is so refreshingly different from on-campus dining options. All of the organic produce is supplied by local farms. The high quality and vast selection of ingredients come with a hefty price-tag, though: smoothies cost around $7, while everything else on the menu averages around $10.

But students are willing to pay for what Village Juice offers — just swing by in the afternoon or on the weekends if you need proof.

Millennial consumers are increasingly more aware of the nutritious contents of the food they’re eating and are (sometimes literally) sick of the artificial, preservative-filled ingredients churned out by chain restaurants. Wake Forest students represent a significant part of that niche market, and Village Juice’s success is a tribute to that very phenomena.

Moreover, our student body is from all over the world, with many hailing from trendy, health-conscious areas. Students from New York or California, for example, are used to seeing restaurants like Village Juice on almost every other block, so they are especially grateful for Village Juice’s existence.

Marcella Gutierres de Britto, a junior from Brazil, said she is used to eating healthy snacks in Miami, where she now lives.

“I feel like Village Juice has become so popular because it has what Wake lacks,” Gutierres de Britto said. “I feel like all we have is the salad bar in Benson. Most people at Wake want to be healthy but are too busy to make healthy food, so Village Juice is the perfect place. It offers a variety of organic food options such as the smoothie bowls, the toast with housemade cashew butter and the smoothies.”

Annie Stevens, a sophomore from Nashville, Tennessee, said the sunset smoothie bowl is her favorite item on the menu.

“I think the food on campus is good but not always the healthiest option,” she said.

I must admit that I am a bit biased — I am a Village Juice addict. I call in my orders to cut the line more often than I’d like to admit. In fact, my only issue with Village Juice is that there are too many tempting items on the menu. The tyranny of choice is real.

I believe that eating locally-sourced, organic, raw food is the best way to stay healthy.

I’ve seen one too many Netflix documentaries, so I am very wary of commercialized food, and I prefer to know just what ingredients I’m eating. I think that Village Juice has found a genius way to capitalize on a goldmine of consumers whose mindset is similar to my own, and I applaud them for it.

I can’t wait to see other businesses follow suit.

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