James Island Messenger December 3, 2013
Want to prevent holiday weight gain, strengthen your immune system, and just have more energy for what is increasingly, even on rural James Island, an overscheduled life? Enter longtime cult fave and new Folly Rd. location the Juice Joint.
After opening as a stand at the Charleston Farmers Market in early 2012, the Juice Joint’s owners Wendy and Mike Ezelle soon after added a food truck serving Folly Beach. On September 1 of this year, the Ezelles took the business to the next level, opening the first brick and mortar Juice Joint at 1291 Folly Rd.
The physical restaurant will offer them the opportunity her first opportunity to stay open year-round, in such a way she can feature an expanded menu that includes coffee.
In selecting a location for the store, it was priority to be close to home and their other businesses, the mobile Juice Joint and Sunshine Rentals, both located at Folly Beach. They met with the owners of Golds Gym’s and discovered the two businesses could form a natural partnership.
Locating the Juice Joint at the gym provided the eatery the convenience to be the quick service, nutrition-focus food option for the community they’d aspired to be. For Gold’s Gym, the match was natural as the location will serve as a convenient spot for gym-goers as well.
Thanks to many local friends, some of the area’s top talent helped with the business’ look. Limelight Sign Co. wrapped the trailer and provided store signage, Alphagraphics did the printing, Marcus Amaker did the website, and Lindsay Windham brought the Juice Joint logo to life.
To reign in such a cast of local talent, it took the tour-de-force that is the partnership that is Mike and Wendy Ezelle. The creative couple first met at Taco Boy where he worked as a bartender under Wendy, a manager who’d relocated from Austin, Texas. As Mike tells it, “She is a go-getter. That drew me in from day one. She is a singer. She introduced me to her music. She was launching the Lowcountry High Rollers when we met. We were also volunteers with the Green Heart Project (GHP), which her best friend (Karalee Nielsen) helped found.”
GHP matches local volunteers with urban youth in a program that teaches children agriculture firsthand, in addition to food preparation and a respect for the environment. The Ezelles have taken children to Fields Farm and Charleston Recycling as part of their volunteerism, and in addition, held a Folly Beach camp so the children could see the beach, coastal nature, and try out water sports.
For many of the children, the trip represented the first time they’d seen the ocean. “Seeing the impact is amazing. We’ve known some kids since third grade, now they are preteens,” says Wendy Ezelle. “They learned how to grow sweet potatoes, sauté kale, make smoothies, and how to turn a skill into a business. These kids are awesome.”
Their volunteerism aside, the Ezelles are first and foremost business owners. It was business savvy that led to another partnership the Joint now relies on, a symbiotic partnership with fellow James Island small business Cup Fine Coffee & Roasters. Cup Fine just happens to be the only micro-batch coffee roaster in the state, and conveniently for the couple, the good stuff is only miles away. Cup Fine’s coffee roasting operation is located at 339 B-1 Fleming Road, only minutes from the Juice Joint. Like the Juice Joint, they have a booth at the Downtown Farmers Market.
Coffee beverages available at the Juice Joint include espresso-based beverages like lattes, cappuccinos, cortados, and double espressos. Chai lattes and regular coffee are also available. The coffee menu board is illustrated; customers can see what creates each coffee drink, and make changes as they see fit.
Juices and smoothies are served in 12-,16-, or 24-ounce sizes. Like coffee, they can be tailored to a customer’s tastes. Many juices contain green leafy vegetables, but any expected bitterness is not there. Apples, bananas, and sweeter veggies are just three of the many ways the Juice Joint staffers create big flavor while adding fiber at the same time.
For example, “the Reviver” (pictured) includes carrot, apple, celery and ginger root, but the carrot and ginger pleasantly dominate. Seven other specialty juice blends start with beets (Radio Flyer, Royal Flush), kale (Green Smile), cucumber (Green Lantern), and orange (Good Morning Sunshine).
There are also a build-your-own juice blend options. Smoothies have regular, green, super food, and kids’ options. They typically contain more pulp, and proteins like almond butter or Greek yogurt.
Additionally, there are 17 super food add-ins for juices and smoothies. They include avocado, acai berry powder, local raw honey, whey protein, and E3Live (an algae blend with 65 vitamins and minerals for ultimate brain and body functionality). There are also five wellness shots. The shots are combinations of herbs, fruit, probiotics or kombucha (fermented tea) that are designed to address specific health concerns or boost healthy performance to new levels.
The menu features solid, if breakfast oriented food offerings including toasts, oatmeal, granola, and fruit bowls. The two multi-grain ciabatta toasts are the avocado spread topped with red pepper flakes and almond butter toast topped with fresh bananas, respectively.
The Organic House-made Hummus comes with carrots and celery. The Acai Brain Bucket (pictured) is Greek yogurt topped with fresh and dried fruit and whole grain goodies. The other options are the Hawaiian Acai bowl, house-made organic oatmeal, and organic flax and pumpkin seed granola cereal.
The Ezelles are local examples of getting back what you give. They prove that when someone incorporates the freshest possible fruits, vegetables, and other superfoods in their diet, they can expect a big return, and amaze themselves in the process.
Amaze yourself with a trip to the gym and the Joint during the winter season, if for no other reason, to help your body ward off the many bugs, flus, and viruses currently circling around James Island.
The Juice Joint is located at 1291 Folly Rd. It is open weekdays 6am-8pm, and Saturdays 8am-4pm. Learn more at their website, www.thejuicejoint.com, or by giving them a call at 795-8060. Cup Fine Coffee & Rosters is on the web at www.cuponwheels.com, as is the Green Heart Project.