Hays is about to get its first juice bar.
Jessica and Curt Braun plan for Feb. 1 as the opening date for Otter Juice Co. in the location of the former Brew Bar in the same building with Sake 2 Me Sushi and Seafood Grille, 2306 Vine.
A fresh coat of brightly colored paint and some work in the kitchen was the largest part of work needed to transform the former coffee bar.
The couple juices every day, and their daughters join in drinking the vegetable and fruit combos. When traveling, they look online for juice bars, too, Jessica said.
The couple thought it was time for Hays to have a healthy option for drinks.
“Juicing is huge. There's juice bars everywhere even in Kansas, just not here,” Jessica said.
In addition, they will offer baked goods like muffins, bagels and scones.
“People want to be healthy. We’re doing the baked goods because I know people don’t want to be too healthy,” she said with a laugh.
The juice menu mostly will follow the business’ otter theme — “I just like otters,” Jessica said — with drinks like Sunrise Otter made from pineapple, yellow or orange pepper, carrots, oranges and lemon, or Green Otter with cucumber, apple, celery, lime, parsley and greens. They’ll also have a Tiger Juice with oranges, ginger and pineapple.
Customers also will be able to customize juices from the available fruits and vegetables, and the Brauns said they can offer guidance for anyone interested in a juice reboot or cleanse.
For those not into the juice combos, there will also be fresh-squeezed orange juice.
They’ll use organic fruits and vegetables when possible, and will purchase from Dillon’s, they said.
“They have good produce and it’s local,” Jessica said.
“And if we need to, we just run down the road to get more,” Curt said.
The baked goods will offer healthier options, too, Jessica said. All will be made from scratch with no animal products and choices will include hempseed, chia seed and pumpernickel bagels, and blueberry-lemon and strawberry scones.
Recycling and low-waste practices are important to the couple, and they’re carrying that into the business as well.
“The other thing we’re trying to do is be environmentally sustainable,” Jessica said.
Their tables and some of the wall decor are made from wood pallets. Cups, utensils and even straws are made from plant-based plastics and are compostable. Customers can buy a reusable jar that will give a 50-cent discount when brought in.
Diners at Sake 2 Me will be able to order juice with their meals as well. They also plan on offering punch cards, a student discount and an app for ordering. “We’ll have curbside delivery since we don’t have a drive-up,” Curt said.
They plan to hire a staff for the business, as they travel quite a bit. Jessica, a veterinarian, offers free spay and neuter clinics on the Pine Ridge Reservation and Belize, among other charitable works.