Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, August 2020
Written by Gail G. Collins
A catalyst is a change agent. Double the force, and it is unstoppable. So it was for Riant and Vanessa Northway, who, after navigating various health issues, opened Juice Pub & Eatery in downtown Flagstaff this past March. The Northern Arizona University graduates met as students, married and moved to Minnesota, settling into a productive life before encountering some road blocks. Their twins were a year old when Riant was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Vanessa suffered a decade of untreated Lyme disease in addition to Hashimoto’s disease, a thyroid condition.
“We were pushed into a whole lifestyle health change—a major alternative route,” Vanessa explained.
Through food, rest and stress outlets—like triathlon training for Riant—they learned to manage their health without a cabinet shelf full of medications. Flare-ups that manifest as flu sometimes occur, but Vanessa said, “It always goes back to food, exercise and rest.”
The couple’s self-care began with a green smoothie they have consumed each day for the past 10 years. The O.G. smoothie headlines Juice Pub’s menu, glowing with greens, celery, cucumber, avocado, pineapple, mint, lemon, lime and olive oil.
The body can only perform as well as it is fueled, and with premium ingredients, it may even overcome affliction. The Northways’ goal was not just to survive, but to thrive. This health journey drove an idea to create a juice bar where others could benefit from their recipes, utilizing food as medicine.
The couple aims to sustain the health of the community by incorporating natural ingredients in menu items, like matcha, coconut milk, turmeric as an anti-inflammatory and supplements like multi-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil to achieve ketosis to burn fat and increase energy. The majority of ingredients, such as micro greens or kombucha—a fizzy, fermented tea rich in beneficial probiotics—are as locally sourced as possible. These foods are the building blocks of their juice farmacy.
Gratitude is a popular juice on Juice Pub’s menu, containing orange, lemon, carrot, ginger, turmeric, collagen—a protein providing structure to skin, joints and muscles—and black pepper. The glass of sunshine is zesty with citrus, plus slight heat and bite. According to Riant, black pepper activates turmeric’s absorption by 2,000 percent.
Among the shots, wheatgrass is a sweet, summer meadow with an orange chunk chaser and a welcome addition to any juice or smoothie. Riant calls it the super-est of superfoods for immune boosting, providing five pounds of veggies in a two-ounce shot. The trifecta of shots includes the ginger—which can aid conditions from nausea to joint soreness—with apple and lemon, plus the turmeric shot with orange and pepper.
All veggies and fruit are cold-pressed with a centrifugal force extractor and are best consumed within 20 minutes of preparation, which is performed upon ordering one of the Juice Pub’s signature juices. This slower service method is effective for maximizing health benefits.
But it’s the bowls that are the eye-catching big sellers. The hot pink dragon bowl glows with blended dragon fruit, mango, pineapple and lime on a bed of homemade granola. It’s topped with sliver slices of strawberries, pineapple and kiwi, scattered with chia seeds, sweetened toasted coconut flakes, spicy candied pecans and a cayenne honey drizzle. Chia, which in Mayan means “strength,” contains large amounts of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein and several essential minerals and antioxidants. The vibrant blue mermaid and purple acai bowls are equally as pleasing to the eyes and palate while being nutrient-packed at the same time.
“Our employees take such pride in making the bowls,” Vanessa said. “They are beautiful—it’s food, it’s art, it’s awesome.”
Pub toasts feature toppings loaded onto sourdough, multigrain or gluten-free bread. The Mediterranean spreads hummus on the customer’s bread of choice, adding sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber, feta, Kalamata olives and micro greens for a savory snack. The Tella-Berry toast springs from childhood, layered with Nutella, strawberries, coconut flakes, chia seeds and a drizzle of honey.
There are also pub salads and boxes on the menu for quick pick-me-up meals. Specialty coffees round out the need for caffeine with beans from Minnesota StoneHouse Coffee and Roastery, which partners with South American farmers.
The Juice Pub & Eatery provides food that is nourishing and necessary to health.
“The goal is to hit all the dietary needs from simply offering something yummy to fighting cancer,” Riant said.
Flagstaff is a good fit for the Northways’ many outdoor pursuits and dedication to health from the inside out. After a decade of family wellbeing, even their three children—9-year-old boy and girl twins and a 6-year-old daughter—can make any smoothie or bowl on the menu.
The couple dreams big, with plans to open more locations of the juice bar later down the line. NAMLM
If you go
Juice Pub & Eatery is located at 22 E. Birch Ave. It is open Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for take-out and dine-in on the patio. Visit www.juicepubandeatery.com for more information or to view the menu.