Considering how health conscious many San Franciscans strive to be, it's surprising that juice bars are few and far between in our fair city. Luckily for residents of Hayes Valley, a pop-up juice bar is moonlighting at Pause Wine Bar (1666 Market, at Rose) on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm, and Mondays from 8am to 2pm.
Luisa Alberto and Derek Castro, founders of SōW, are avid juicers. While working at Blue Bottle Coffee together, the duo discovered they had the same affinity for blending fruits and veggies into nourishing, hearty drinks.
“[We want] juice to be as much of a staple as coffee, and as available as coffee, and for it to be fresh and made well,” Derek said during a break from behind the counter. “There’s only a handful of spots in the city where you can get a fresh cup of juice hand crafted for you.”
After this realization, and having been inspired by the branding of Blue Bottle, the pair started exploring how to make juice more abundant to SF residents in a clean, simple presentation with the freshest ingredients possible. They did what many entrepreneurs with great ideas do these days: they launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign (video below) in March 2012 to raise $12,500 to cover start-up costs. The campaign was a success. By April 1, they had reached their goal. They opened for business at Pause just a month later, in May.
The customer response has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Luisa, with people often just wondering why there aren't more juice bars in the city. As a result, Luisa and Derek plan to introduce more SōWs in the coming years.
“The future plan is to get a spot and make it sick," Luisa said with a grin. “We're actively looking for retail space with production capacity in the back so we can continue to do bulk orders. Just like there are coffee shops on every corner, there should be juice on every corner.”
The pair, especially Derek, take great pride in the ingredients that go into each drink, and their menu reflects their refined palate. To the virgin juicers, like ourselves, the produce in some of these concoctions seems a little eclectic — apple, orange, parsley, kale, celery and mint? OK, why not? — but the end result is a parade of rich, earthy flavors that nurture your body and soul.
To pick the freshest fruits and veggies, Derek can be seen hopping around different neighborhood farmers markets throughout the week looking for just the right fruit or vegetable from a certain farm. According to Derek, one of his goals with the menu is to expose customers to unexpected ingredients.
“I want to encourage more variants in growing more funkier types of produce,” he said.
If reading this has piqued your interest in juicing and you're in the hood tomorrow morning, be sure to stop by Pause and SōW for your introductory glass. They will also be throwing a potluck brunch complete with mimosas tomorrow from 10:30am to 1:30pm.
Now, in the words of Luisa, "Come get your juice on!"