I have to be honest, I walked past this place probably a million times. Never was I enticed to enter. It was not until a Mom from a Facebook Mom’s group said it was great and had a kid play area, that it perked my ears. Imagine that – a Juice Bar with a kid play area. Awesome!
Little did I know just how awesome this place really was. I did not order the “Jus” right away; it was the ingredients of the sandwiches that reeled me in. Seriously have not had a bad meal or juice smoothie yet. No, they did not in anyway pay me to write this – it’s just really that good. If you have not yet poked your head in here is a look at Jūs Bar.
1. Why did you choose the spot here in Columbia City?
The spot actually chose us. I had left The Steelhead Diner where I was the GM/Wine Director/Everything, and had the desire to go back to school to inspire my next big step. I happened to take a small business entrepreneurship course in the evenings at Central Community College. In addition to the accounting and viticulture classes I was extremely interested in putting together a business plan. I had jumped on a couple of websites that had listings of places currently available. When this space popped up it was like seeing “your dog” at the pound, it felt right, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
2. What do you love about doing business here in Columbia City?
What I love most about Columbia City is that after living in Seattle for seven years it finally feels like home. I grew up in California in a small town called Sonoma, and at that time was mostly family owned, mom and pop businesses with a sense of community. After running a restaurant with my partner, Anthony, for the five years in Pike Place Market I had grown tired of existing in downtown. There is no community there, which is the complete opposite here. I enjoy meeting people, getting to know them, being a part of someone’s day/routine.
3. What is your background?
I have a pretty extensive background in the hospitality industry. I dabbled with other projects, graduating from massage school, running an organic landscaping business, as well as a catering company. I must have opened over twenty places in my career so far, each one having their own personality, strengths, and flaws. The food, lively libations, and infectious energy found in these great restaurants are unmatched.
4. What is your favorite thing on the menu?
My favorite item on our menu is the Cuban Tofu Panini. It was inspired by a trip my mom took to Portland, and brought me back this incredible coconut infused vinegar. That started the concept of a sweet, and tangy coleslaw with just a bit of heat. To elevate the local organic tofu, we score and marinate it in olive oil after zesting each piece with lime, ginger, and chili. It comes on a killer ciabatta role with Sambal~Cilantro aioli, and avocado to top it off. Anthony’s favorite is our Roasted Chicken Club with Bacon, Provolone and Dried Tomato Mayonnaise. He is also enjoys the Hickory Smoked Pastrami on Rye that is a popular item at the store.
5. What do people in Columbia City not know about you or Jūs Bar that you want them to know?
I think the biggest misconception about Jūs Bar is that were we are exclusively about juice, cleanses and health food. Though it is the basis of what we do we are more than that. Of course, we are proud of our diverse menu, which is driven by fresh, high quality and seasonal ingredients. We offer a range of rotating soups from vegetarian “Tom Ka” to classic Manhattan Style Clam Chowder, which are made in house. Some items like mini quiches and sandwiches are easy to grab and go but you could be comfortable relaxing with them and a glass of wine or beer in the store. Our goal is to make people happy and look to accommodate people any way we can while offering things that can be appreciated by anyone. Our gluten free options like veggie lasagna and gluten free bread are outstanding and made here. It is difficult to find GF items like bread that is the correct size for sandwiches, and having lived my life feeling cheated by the “tea toast” that most are served on, we want to make those options accessible to people. Beyond that the wine and beer we offer is available to take home, and we have a catering menu that can tailor to the needs of your different group functions.
6. What is it like working with your partner? Who is ‘in charge’?
It is great working with my partner. I wish it was more often, but he has a heavy load, still maintaining the head chef position at Steelhead Diner, and assisting me with all the day-to-day tasks here. What is interesting is that we met running a restaurant that could do over 800 covers on any given day, but the challenges brought us closer together. We have both shared the dream of having a restaurant, and this provides an opportunity to move closer to our dream. Don’t get me wrong it has its ups and downs. If anyone out there knows what its like to be an A type personality, times that by two, and just imagine being in fifth gear all the time. There is little to no time off, and crazy long days, but it makes you appreciate the moments in between that much more. As far as who’s in charge, well there is really no designation. I run the business the majority of the time, I am here everyday, and the face of Jūs Bar you could say. I would have collapsed at this point if it weren’t for the assistance of my partner. We have to fuel one another, or there would be no possibility of sustaining. When it comes to making decisions it truly is a collaboration of careful consideration, and concept of execution.
7. Any other juicy tidbits you want to ad?
The juiciest thing to discuss is our growing list of events planned for the future as well as executed in the past. We held an incredible oyster night with Kevin of Cedergreen Cellars recently as well as, book readings, and Honey Fest. Upcoming we are holding a Latin jazz fiesta with Jose Santiago and the art of local artist John Smith. Past that we have an open to Family oriented Photo shoot Mother’s day weekend and wine dinners planned for the summer months.