Before the now-ubiquitous invasion of juice bars throughout Manhattan, there was Heartbeet Juicery, a Brooklyn-based juice and cleanse home delivery operation started by partners Maria Margolies, a yoga instructor, and Danniel Swatosh, a former art director, in 2012. In August 2013, the duo went brick and mortar, bringing New Yorkers an alternative to store-bought juices with a reclaimed wood to-go window on Stanton Street. Since then, they've been vending an assortment of immunity boosting, health-promoting drinks and (as of June) superfoods spiked salads and wraps made in conjunction with former Narcissa sous chef Charles Lutka.
Margolies, who heads up Heartbeet's menu development, is a practitioner of Ayurveda, and her belief in food as preventative medicine is stamped throughout Heartbeet's offerings. "We believe in balance, listening to our bodies and our environment, and living accordingly. Making sure we have cooked foods and raw, also fermented, some fresh, some juiced, some blended, some spiced, and some plain. What we learned in Ayurveda is that any food can be medicine or poison, it all depends when and how we have it," she explains. Over the summer Heartbeet served lighter juices like watermelon and pineapple cilantro, but now that it's colder one will find warming spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and clove flavoring drinks like Heartbeet's almond masala. For winter, Heartbeet also has a new line of hot drinks, which includes a golden milk, made from almond milk, ginger, black pepper and turmeric, a powerful anti-inflammatory and great immunity booster. If you're feeling under the weather, go for the Immunity, a hot citrusy mix of cayenne, turmeric, ginger, and lemon. Or, grab a chilled Coco Coal booster shot, which combines coconut water and activated charcoal. It's an instant detoxifier, anti-inflammatory, and hydrator, so it's especially great for those with a hangover.
Heartbeet also offers a bunch of shots geared to treat specific aliments and provide daily immunity boosts. Their newest, a daily shot, is a fiery cider based on an old folk recipe. The powerful elixir of garlic, horseradish, onion, ginger, lemons, jalapeño, turmeric, rosemary, apple cider vinegar, and honey is strong enough to knock the health into you.
Besides the drinks that change seasonally, Heartbeet also has a core list of juices that are always on the menu, including the All Greens (romaine, celery, parsley, kale, cucumber, spinach), Spicy Lemonade (lemon, maple syrup, cayenne, turmeric, alkaline water), and an organic, truly raw, sprouted almond milk.
What does it mean to be truly raw? In September 2007, the US banned the sale of raw almonds. Which means if you go to Whole Foods today you'll see a bin of "raw" almonds that aren't actually raw; they've been flash pasteurized to kill any bacteria. American almond growers must pasteurize their almonds by blanching, oil roasting, steaming or using propylene oxide (PPO), and after undergoing any of these processes they can still legally be labeled as "raw." The exception to this rule is that California farmers are legally allowed to sell unpasteurized almonds directly to customers at farmers markets, with a limit of 100 pounds per person per day. Also, organic almond growers abroad can export their raw almonds into the US.
Heartbeet buys its raw, unpasteurized organic almonds from a farm in California. The almond milk goes into a slew of nut milks like almond-coconut and almond-chia, in addition to two cold brews made with La Colombe beans and sweetened with coconut sugar. For a heartier drink that packs caffeine, go for the creamy coconut matcha smoothie enriched with coconut meat, matcha powder, almond butter and dates. Heartbeet's smoothies are thick enough you can chew on them, and as Swatosh puts it, they're like a salad in smoothie form.
Not surprisingly, Heartbeet uses zero white sugar in any of its food or beverages. Instead, drinks like the almond coconut cold brew are sweetened with coconut sugar, while honey goes into Heartbeet's seasonal blueberry-thyme smoothie, and maple syrup is mixed into the spicy lemonade. Dates, meanwhile, add a hint of sugar in the pear-pumpkin smoothie.
Though Heartbeet began as an online cleanse operation, along the way Margolies and Swatosh realized that New Yorkers wanted a healthy option. They wanted the choice to buy raw, cold-pressed juices along with smoothies and nut milks that are not high pressure pasteurized (HPP), which is the case for all those drinks sold at grocery stores, like Blue Print and Suja. Heartbeet Juices will never be HHP-ed and thus you'll have to visit Heartbeet's Stanton Street store, or order via Seamless, AmazonFresh, or awesome online artisanal market Good Eggs.
After almost a year of business, Margolies and Swatosh learned that their customers wanted more than drinks, and they set out to offer quick and easy nutritious staples. Initially they launched with energy bars, which are more like energy bites — think fudgy goji-cacao chunks made from walnuts, goji berries, dates, cacao powder and mesquite. With help from chef Latka, they expanded into chia pudding, mango-avocado nori rolls, and a wrap made from collard greens filled with carrot pate and cashew aioli. Their menu is totally vegan and gluten-free, with a mix of both raw and cooked organic vegetable-centered fare.
While Heartbeet doesn't source all organically certified produce, its fruits and vegetables are entirely grown according to organic standards, and Heartbeet enlists Greenmarket to deliver its supplies from Upstate farms like Satur Farms and Mead Orchards.
Back before Heartbeet ever opened its Stanton Street stall, the girls popped-up at hip clothing boutique Steven Alan, and last winter they also staged a temporary juice shop within Opening Ceremony. Next, they're excited about collaborating with Adriana Ayales of Anima Mundi Apothecary. Ayales is a rainforest herbalist from Costa Rica who integrates Central and South American tribal medicinal practices into her products, also taking into consideration Eastern and Western herbalism.
Though these days even New York bodegas are lined with juices, and new juice bars seemingly open every week, there are just a handful of places that really do the grab and go juice thing right. And Heartbeet, with its glass-bottled medicinal juices, is right there at the top.