The purples and pinks are so electric, the oranges and greens so dazzling, it’s hard to believe such colors could possibly be found in nature.
The refrigerated case at Beetnix on Broughton may look like a candy store, but its rainbow of hues is powered by carrots, beets, kale, spinach, apples, turmeric and other fresh goodies that won’t rot your teeth or send your blood sugar spinning.
Everything else on the menu is just as healthy: In addition to fresh-pressed juices, Beetnix serves up a solid menu of crunchy salads, gluten-free bowls and dairy-free delights all day long. You can also ramp up your immune system with a non-pharmaceutical “flu shot” made from lemon, garlic, cayenne and other germ-kicking ingredients.
If this sounds like a paradise for the quinoa-loving, rosy-cheeked yoga set, you’re absolutely right—though those who don’t know their kombucha from their savasana dig it, too.
- Photo by Jon Waits
Beetnix opened quietly last week on the ground floor of Dancing Dogs Yoga studio, and it’s already seen far more traffic than its built-in customer base.
“The juices have been flying off the shelves,” marvels Shelley Lowther, who owns both businesses. “We thought we had ordered enough produce for a week, and it was gone in two days!”
A devoted disciple of yoga scion Baron Baptiste, Lowther has owned Dancing Dogs for over a year and began building out the juice bar last spring. Once upon a time, however, the Savannah native dealt in draft beer and Irish whiskey instead of cashew butter and goji berries. As the proprietor of local watering holes Finnegan’s Wake and Murphy’s Law in the early 2000s, she never dreamed she’d be pushing superfoods over bar snacks.
“I used to live on fish ‘n’ chips and pizza, believe me,” she laughs. “But the more I practiced yoga, the more I craved healthy things. So I began juicing and trying out recipes at home. And I found out that it’s hard to do it for yourself and stay inspired.”
Lowther wanted to share the tasty innovations she’d come up with in her kitchen and enlisted Dancing Dogs student and restaurant veteran Jessica Stafford to help open the juice bar.
“I’ve always been interested in holistic culinary practices, but I’d always worked as a line cook in typical kitchens. I felt like such a grease monkey!” says Stafford of her gig as Beetnix’s top chef. “I’m just really excited to work with all of these beautiful ingredients.”
Lowther insists that the menu be as allergen-free as possible, and swapped out almond milk in the smoothies ($7.95 and $9.95) for the coconut variety when she learned that the former can cause reactions in some customers. For sure, everything is entirely devoid of chemicals, refined sweeteners, gluten and dairy.
“We are essentially vegan, though we do have honey,” she says, pointing to a Savannah Bee Co. pump on the counter.
“There’s not a bag of sugar in the place.”
- Photo by Jon Waits
Among their tasty, collaborations are hot breakfasts ($7.95), including the sweet “Forbidden Pudding,” a hearty combo of coconut milk-soaked black rice, fresh pear and chia seeds. Stafford has also taken salad to a high art, evidenced in the kaleidoscopic Root Down, Rise Up, layered with kale, golden beets, apples, quinoa, raisins and hemp seeds ($8.) Dressings are original creations and made from scratch (the tahini turmeric curry is a house favorite.)
There’s also a hot supper option of lentils and quinoa steamed with coconut oil and topped with avocado, house-made cashew butter and sprouts ($9.)
“I like the challenge of surprising people with how good this kind of food can taste. It doesn’t have to be boring,” says Stafford, wearing an apron over yoga pants.
- Photo by Jon Waits
Aesthetics, value and yumminess converge in the organic smoothie bowls ($8.50 and $10.50), power-packed with a choice of anti-oxidant acai berries or the latest superfood trend, pitaya. Also known by its superhero name, dragon fruit, this hot pink cactus is imported from Brazil and is rich in B vitamins. The Warrior One features pitaya blended with banana, strawberries, raw almond butter, sprouted almond milk, white mulberries and cacao nibs.
“It tastes like you’re being bad, doesn’t it?” laughs general manager Nicholas Buttimer. “But it’s so good for you!”
Bowls are made to order at the counter, while salads are stocked in the colorful grab ‘n’ go case along with the rainbow of fresh juices and nut milks ($9.50.) For those interested in a total system flush, Beetnix offers single and multiple day cleanses, based on Lowther’s extensive nutritional research.
All the packaging is compostable or recyclable, and regulars can bring ten bottles back and get a fresh juice in return.
If anyone thought Savannah wasn’t ready for an all-vegan, super juice bar, their doubts can be answered with the way Beetnix mows through the pounds and piles of fresh greens and roots required to make the juice.
“Our biggest challenge right now is getting all the vegetables we need to keep up with the demand,” says Lowther.
“If you know any organic farmers, send them our way!”