The walls of the Black-owned shop are lined with Basquiat-esque art and carefully curated music fills every corner of the shop situated on Jamaica Avenue. The open air space feels bigger than it is with towering ceilings and an abundance of light flooding in. Extra touches such as a vinyl player and records on display give the health-conscious juice bar added personality.
“Simplicity is key for us,” said one of the owners, Ashari James, reflecting on the name, as well as the substance of the menu and the open essence of the space. “We wanted to bring a piece of Manhattan and a piece of Brooklyn to Queens.”
The four owners who all met at nearby Corebalfit gym in Queens Village, which is co-owned by Lyndon Brown and Jumel Verna, are no strangers to a healthy lifestyle.
One of the founders, Clarence Curley, started marking cold-pressed juice and bringing it to the gym for the others to taste test. Then after some convincing, James embraced their idea of a community juice spot that the others were pushing to take the leap on. All four of them, with their Queens roots and individual business strengths, collectively brought Juice That Simple to life.
“We wanted to create a space that’s modern. We want to create a space that builds community. And we want to create a space where people can come to get clean products and also just relax and chill,” James told QNS on the shop’s third day of being open.
He added that many of the juices, smoothies and acai bowls on the menu are also a spin on nostalgic 90’s themes, movies and music. After long nights brainstorming fruit and vegetable concoctions, the menu came together with names designed to make it memorable.
Two specific drinks are dedicated to loved ones who passed. G Slash, a green cold-pressed juice, goes out to Curley’s late father, who was the one who inspired him to get into juicing. And Bubbela, a berry-centered smoothie, is also a nickname that James’ late brother went by.
Smoothies include the ‘Caribbean R’ Us’ which mixes strawberry, mango, banana and a plant-based milk such as almond, coconut or oat. While the ‘Kale Me Later’ has spinach, kale, mango, banana and milk. PB Cool J, a meal replacement smoothie with peanut butter, banana, blueberry, milk and protein powder goes out to Queens-raised rapper LL Cool J.
Some of the juices on the menu are “Beemer, Beetz & Bentley” alongside “Melon on my Mind,” a spin on the ubiquitous lyric money on my mind. And for cold-pressed juices, which are priced slightly higher but are extracted through a slower process that preserves more nutrients, you can choose between “Let The Beet Drop” and “Let the Beet Build.”
Affordability was also in mind when setting up the menu. For many, the higher cost of eating healthy, on top of inflation, can be a deterrent to a healthy lifestyle. But everything on the menu hovers slightly above or right below $10.
“There’s definitely a lack of juice spots nearby, and a need for it. We’re hoping to fill that void,” said James, who pointed out that the nearest juice bars are miles apart in opposite directions.
Their grand-opening on Saturday, Sept. 30, drew in a crowd of over 100 people who were able to try out the juices and bowls for the first time. Visitors also wrote positive messages across on the chalk-friendly walls of the bathroom.
“It’s great to see the revitalization of small businesses that are promoting healthy foods & lifestyles. Thanks to Ashari for inviting me, & I can’t wait to stop by again!” Council Member Linda Lee wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, alongside pictures from the grand opening event.
Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. and Councilwoman Natasha Williams, who represents southeast Queens, also made an appearance for the ribbon-cutting.
As the shop settles into the area, Brown says they plan to have community events such as paint and sips, open mic nights for poetry and pop-up shops. They also want the space to serve as a gallery and collaborate with artists to add to the existing art on the walls.
“We’re here for the community and we want to bring everyone out to be able to grow and network,” said Brown.
Juice That Simple is located at 247-25 Jamaica Ave., Suite 6, in Bellerose. For the next couple of weeks, the shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. After that, regular hours will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.