Juice Pub & Eatery: Health from the inside out

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.”

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Celebrating 18 years, Altitudes Bar & Grill continues the tradition of comfort food, cold beer and live music

Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, August 2020

Written by Gail G. Collins

s time pushes us forward, there is something especially comforting about the familiar past. Our legacy lies there, inviting us to revel in the good ol’ days when the clock ticked slower and friends lingered.

Flagstaff’s downtown was built upon its railroad, which still boasts tremendous activity, while iconic Route 66 wends a parallel journey to the tracks. Amid this history, Paul Joerger and Lynda Fleischer planted a ski pole to found Altitudes Bar & Grill.

After hanging out for years at a favorite bar and grill, the couple wanted to replicate the atmosphere.

“We had in our minds a place to meet friends and relax,” Fleischer said. “Our priority was comfort food made the best way possible.”

After a couple years of planning, the opportunity to locate in the notable Anderson Building arose. Originally housing the Warehouse Company, the structure was that of Chester Anderson, who brought Flagstaff’s south side to life via trade. Fleischer and Joerger continue that tradition at Altitudes Bar & Grill, celebrating 18 years of juicy burgers, cold beer and live music this summer.

The owners met at Arizona Snowbowl. Fleischer managed the ski team for 14 years, and Joerger acted as food and beverage director for the resort. They married on the mountain, so Altitudes’ ambience embraces the San Francisco Peaks.

“Everyone brings us their skis and other kinds of things,” Fleischer said, pointing at a row of skis, laid side by side like paneling along the lower east wall inside the restaurant. Some are even signed. Above, framed art, photographs and antique equipment lend honest kitsch to their past. Ski team members donated gear as technology advanced, while trophies and plaques boast of good seasons. Guests sit at the bar and point to family names. A case of ski passes, sporting the couples’ fresh faces in their snowy heydays, offers perspective.

Intrinsic to Snowbowl’s ski resort history were Gertrude “Jerry” Nunn, a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame member, and husband Jimmie, who founded the Arizona Ski Museum. A striking photo of Jerry at 18 years old marks what Fleischer affectionately calls the Nunn’s shrine. Fleischer’s mentor, who was like a second grandmother to her daughter, passed away a few years ago, and Jimmie died in March. Jimmie donated vintage boots, wooden skis, leather bindings and other period kit for display in the eatery.

Burgers at Altitudes are legend, but the fish fry is the top seller and specially priced every Friday. The walleye, a local fish that can be caught in Lake Mary, is beer battered and crumbed in panko for a light bite. Served with fries, lemon, tartar sauce and coleslaw for lunch, the dinner meal also includes a salad.

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