It’s no secret that culinary trends are a tad bit slow to reach us here on the Eastern Shore. Nonetheless, they do catch on and when they do, we usually embrace them wholeheartedly and with a touch of local flair. Healthy eating options, locally sourced ingredients, and fresh, organic produce have gained a significant amount of traction over the past few years on Delmarva, with more farm-to-table menus, an increase in farmers markets, and a stronger interest in healthy alternatives. The Juice Shack by Berlin Organics strives to achieve all of this and then some with their new Ocean City location (16th Street and Coastal Highway). We stopped by the juice bar earlier this week to catch up with owner Lisa Carlotta and to see for ourselves what all of the recent buzz was about.
Two steps in the door and we knew we had found a new local’s hotspot. The colorful interior is welcoming, with personal touches studded throughout that reflect the local surf culture. Of course we were quick to spot the table tops, which were made by our friends at Plak That and feature local photographers. Our eye was quickly drawn away however as we saw the fresh juices, smoothies, and acai bowls being whipped up behind the counter. Wheatgrass shots? Sure! We slung back a few in hopes of gaining some revived energy and balance for those Monday blues. Mission accomplished 😉
Lisa and her husband Paul opened the Juice Shack last year in the 67th Street Town Center, relocating to the 16th Street location for their second year. You might also recognize the Carlottas from their farm and market on 611 – Berlin Organics. The Juice Shack is really an extension of the farm, utilizing as many of their own farm fresh ingredients as possible. “We started with the goal of offering a healthy option for people,” explained Lisa, adding “the juice bar really ties into the farm too. We use a lot of fresh ingredients from the farm.”
The space is shared with OC Wasabi Express, which is located in the back half of the store. The two businesses operate separately however. “We are thrilled to be in here with Wasabi,” said Lisa, noting that while shared business space is a new concept for the area, it is beneficial to both businesses to combine under one roof for complete utilization of the available space. In addition, many patrons grab a juice or a wheatgrass shot before sidling over to Wasabi Express to enjoy a roll.
The Juice Shack boasts a healthy, grab-and-go style menu featuring juices, smoothies and acai bowls. Snacks and prepared sandwiches and wraps are also available, along with a small selection of local produce. “Our concept is grab and go – we want to provide a healthy option. Our hope is that people can grab something quick and head back out to the beach.”
Many of you are probably wondering by now what exactly an acai bowl or a wheatgrass shot is. We’ll start with the acai bowls, which are new to the menu this year. The bowls are comprised of organic acai berries blended with liquid (soy, almond milk, coconut milk…) and layered with a variety of organic toppings including granola, honey, coconut, and fruit. Think a fruit and yogurt parfait but better. Much better. The health benefits are seemingly endless…not to mention the refreshing flavor combo on a hot summer day.
The wheatgrass also packs a serious dose of healthfulness, and while anything that is best described as ‘tasting like grass’ doesn’t seem particularly appealing to the senses, we actually found the flavor to be quite enjoyable. Wheatgrass acts as a powerful detoxifier, cleanses the blood and organs, rejuvenates aging cells, lowers blood pressure, and more. Order as a shot or add it to your juice or smoothie!
Smoothies and juices come in a wide variety of combinations and options. “We have a variety, with options for those who are watching their sugar count as well” said Lisa. We sampled the Wipeout, a delicious mix of beets, carrots, ginger and apple. Popular items so far this year have been the Mavericks juice, which includes celery, parsley, apple, kale, lemon, spinach and cucumber, as well as the Endless Summer smoothie, which blends strawberry, banana and vanilla whey.
Ice cream is also available to cater to your sweet tooth. The Juice Shack proudly carries Bassets Ice Cream from Philadelphia, which maintains bragging rights as America’s oldest ice cream company. “We are really happy to offer that this year,” said Lisa, noting that ice cream can be added to their supply of Burley Oak root beer for root beer floats.
Back on the farm, Lisa, Paul and their two children (who can also be found helping out at the Juice Shack) stay busy growing and selling local produce and farm fresh eggs. This is the third year of operations for Berlin Organics, which started after Lisa struggled to find healthy, organic options for her own kids. That same passion and interest in organic, local produce has grown over the years, yielding their successful farm and juice bar. Fingers crossed that we will be seeing additional Juice Shacks pop up in the future! In the meantime, we’ll be sipping on fresh juices and smoothies all summer long.
Photos by Gina Whaley