735 Copeland St., Shadyside
Juice boxes are no longer just for kids.
Opened in mid-April, Juice Box Café is Shadyside's newest eatery, serving vegetarian-friendly sandwiches and salads ... along with its signature juice drinks and smoothies. The café is already winning over locals.
"[Business] has been really good," says manager Marsa Lowerison. "We have a ridiculous amount of regulars."
No doubt the vibrant atmosphere and friendly service plays a role in that, along with the food and freshly made drinks.
During a recent visit, oldies tunes like "At the Hop" played on the stereo, complementing the equally upbeat interior design. Painted bright yellow, orange and green, the dining room's walls are lined with local artwork, most of it created by Juice Box employees.
But culinary art is Juice Box's focus. And it strives to be healthy.
Vegetarians can try the Mediterranean salad wrap -- filled with artichokes, hearts of palm, olives, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. For meat-lovers, there's a ham-and-apple panini.
Sandwiches, wraps and paninis -- which cost roughly $6.50 -- come with a side of tortilla chips and homemade hummus or black bean salsa, or a cup of fresh fruit. Salads come with a wedge of whole-wheat bread.
"Among carnivores, everyone loves the turkey avocado," Lowerison says. For vegans, she says, the smoked-tofu and spice curry salad is a favorite.
But a meal at Juice Box isn't complete without a drink. The menu offers mixed juices such as Morning Dew, made with apple and pear, and smoothies (available in three sizes).
On recommendation, I ordered the Purple Rain smoothie, a combination of apple juice, mango, blueberries, pineapple and banana. The drink was neither too viscous nor too watery, and its ingredients complemented one another without any one fruit overwhelming the others. Lowerison says Purple Rain and Mad Mango -- made with orange juice, mango, pineapple and banana -- are best-sellers.
The daily specials are pretty good, too. Having arrived during the café's Wednesday wrap special, I paid just $8.50 for a Turkey Avocado wrap, a side of tortilla chips and hummus, and a 12-ounce smoothie.