The popularity of juicing has exploded over the past three years. Visit any major city these days and you can find hip little mom-and-pop juice spots all over. Businesses — including an increasing number of large corporations — are capitalizing on juicing devotees who want the end product without the messy process and lost refrigerator real estate. Atlanta is right on trend with what feels like a new juice spot popping up every couple of months. Many of them also sell smoothies, raw food, and the like to round out their offerings. Each place has its own philosophies and processes it thinks are best: whether it's cold-press juicers or centrifugal juice extractors — a debate we are not going to get into here. However, the common denominator is always health and wellness. I juice. And I credit my improved health and weight loss, in part, to juicing. While it's true numerous places around town call themselves "juice bars" and sell frozen yogurt, made-to-order juiceries are worth seeking out.
Arden's Garden was the place for juice before any of its competitors even considered opening up shop. Touting cleanses, wheatgrass shooters, and many different juices (fruit, vegetable, and live), Arden's Garden went from being a small shop to having seven locations and being sold at many local stores, including Whole Foods, Publix, and Return to Eden. All of the juice is made at a processing plant in East Point using a cloth-filtered hydraulic press, which the company says "contains more than double the nutrients and enzymes of a centrifugal juice." The stores sell (plastic) bottled juices, smoothies, made-to-order wheatgrass shooters, and assorted snacks. Service is friendly and knowledgeable. However, the premade juice — no juices are made on site — is packaged in plastic bottles and can rub some purists that maintain made-to-order is best. Juices: $2.19-11.79; Cleanses: $30 (two day cleanse)-$395 (full course). Little Five Points, 1117 Euclid Ave. 404-827-0424, and other metro Atlanta locations. www.ardensgarden.com.
The lunch line at Rawesome Juicery is one of the longest despite its many competitors in Sweet Auburn Curb Market. The year-old juicery employs a cold-press method and most of the raw juices are made to order before your eyes. Rawesome serves three sizes of juice with the largest being a 20 ounce. Most of the blends are pretty standard, such as the Recharge, a mix of cucumber, spinach, and apple. Fruit definitely dominates the menu although there are "greener" juices to be had, like the Ultimate Recharge, a mix of kale, spinach, cucumber, romaine, ginger, apple, and lemon. Smoothies get equal play as well as a nice assortment of kale-heavy salads. You can preorder juices and pick them up if you are going heavier on the juice than solids. Juices: $3.50-$5.25. 209 Edgewood Ave. 404-996-6698. www.rawesomejuicery.com.
Dtox Buckhead feels more laboratory than feel-good emporium. One of the biggest pluses about this juicery is that it stores the juices in glass bottles. Dtox has a kitchen in the back that is constantly producing with a centrifugal extractor to ensure you receive fresh juice when you come in. And given the amount of people that come through the oddly placed juicery (down the hill and around the back of the building), turnover is high. If you leave a deposit you can take the glass bottles. If you plan to enjoy on site, they'll pour your juice in an earth-friendly cup. Many people do the cleanses — such as the liver cleanse or the "juice until dinner." For a fee, Dtox will have your daily juices ready and waiting for you to tote home in a cloth bag. The juices here are more hardcore (i.e., greener with little sweetness) than its Atlanta contemporaries so this is for both novices and pros alike. Dtox also delivers. Juices: $6-$8; Cleanses: $30-70/day. 3210 Roswell Road. 404-848-8466. www.dtoxjuice.com.
Whole Foods is about as synonymous with perceived health and wellness as you can get in our everyday life. No matter how you feel about the corporation, you cannot deny that people flock to its stores and pay a lot of money to feel healthier. Two of the Atlanta locations — Buckhead and Ponce de Leon Avenue — have bare-bones juice bars that serve a variety of made-to-order juices, smoothies, and random healthy bites. They will make your juice to order — just go shopping and it's done in about 5-10 minutes. If you are in more of a hurry, the Buckhead location offers two to three ready-made juices bouncing around one of those clear plastic beverage dispensers and they're pretty good — especially the ones made with beets and ginger. The Buckhead store often has freshly made grab-and-go plastic bottles of the same "house" drinks for the day. Juices: $4.99-$5.99. 77 W. Paces Ferry Road. 404-324-4100, and other metro Atlanta locations. www.wholefoodsmarket.com.Atlanta's newest juice bar, Kale Me Crazy, opened up a few days ago from the folks behind Yogli Mogli. Our initial stalking revealed a swanky juice spot right in the middle of Inman Park's restaurant row with a good amount of parking. The place resembles many of the new generation Korean restaurants in Duluth. 300 N. Highland Ave. 404-250-6686. www.facebook.com/KaleMeCrazy. Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original version.