It only takes a few minutes with Joyce Abady to see how passionate she is about food.
The 27-year-old is the owner of The Juice Theory, which opened last May on Long Branch’s Brighton Avenue. A few years earlier, she started her business – now a vegan and organic eatery and juice bar – in Ocean Township. It began with juice, a seemingly simple product that represents what her company is all about.
“Juice is a shortcut to health,” said Abady, a mother of two who lives in West Long Branch. “One shot of juice is like a shot of medicine. I believe in it so much; you feel it when you drink it.”
She makes cold-pressed juice, which means the liquid is extracted from fruits and vegetables by hydraulic pressure, instead of a motor-operated blade. The heat produced by the latter, she says, can destroy nutrients. By cold-pressing spinach, apples, romaine, pears, pineapples and so on, “you get the purest form of liquid,” Abady said.
The benefit of juices like these is their power to fight bacteria, which cleanses the body.
“The idea of keeping our body clean, the only way you can do that is without clogging the engine,” said Abady, who sipped from a bottle of green-hued juice on a recent weekday morning. Things like animal protein, dairy and sugar – all of which are difficult for the body to digest – “clog the engine.” This is why, Abady said, “when you eat a big meal, your body wants to go to sleep in order to digest.”
Cleaner foods are easier to break down, she said, and “that means more energy for other things. I want people to feel good, and it starts from the inside out.”
After some time at the Ocean Township shop, Abady wanted to expand her offerings and “show people how to incorporate the juice as a lifestyle.” Her Long Branch restaurant, which is open from breakfast through dinner, features a menu that shows “vegan isn’t boring food, tasteless food,” Abady said. “I think we’ve got something special, because our flavors are so clean.”
The menu, which Abady crafted with her mother, Bella Betesh (who runs their newly opened second location, in Brooklyn), is a collection of salads, sides, toasts, berry bowls and smoothies, among other dishes. Standout items include:
- Vegan Caesar salad, a mix of romaine and kale with roasted sweet potatoes, garlic croutons, vegan Parmesan chips and Caesar dressing ($14)
- Vurrito love bowl, made with kale, arugula, quinoa, chimmichuri black beans, lime guacamole, shredded jicama and spicy tempeh ($16);
- Grilled cheese made with cashew cream, tomato, basil, olives and arugula ($8)
- Citrus tower, a layered side of roasted diced beets, quinoa and avocado with an orange dressing ($7).
“We’re really thoughtful about the flavors,” Abady said, adding that her Lebanese heritage influenced some of the dishes. “(It is) clean food, so you taste everything that we’re putting into it.”
The Juice Theory serves a different soup every day, “and people love the soups,” she said. There is tomato with ribbons of zucchini, mushroom, split pea, Moroccan-spiced cauliflower, and creamy cauliflower (made creamy with coconut milk or “cream” made with cashews.)
A staple ingredient in the eatery’s kitchen is almond milk, which is produced using the same method as the juice. It is sweetened with dates and flavored with cinnamon, and the milk is mixed with chia seeds for a pudding topped with coconut, berries and nuts; blended with cold brew coffee and a cinnamon agave drizzle for a latte ($5.99); and forms the base of smoothies made with fruit, nut butters and maple syrup ($9.50).
“I just want to show people they can have the balance,” said Abady, who also offers vegan muffins, chocolate chip cookies and biscotti. “There’s no reason not to give people that treat. We can give people all that they want, and do it in a clean way.”