Embracing nutrition at Squeeze

Published 6:33 pm Sunday, January 23, 2011

Susan Sakara, owner of Lipstick Jungle Spa recently added to her business with Squeeze, a vegan and raw juice bar and eatery located right next door, on Main Street in downtown Niles.

For Susan Sakara, opening up her new business, Squeeze, next door to the Lipstick Jungle Spa felt natural.

Which is fitting, as Sakara’s vegan and raw juice bar and eatery is devoted to serving up foods and beverages using all natural ingredients, making them naturally healthy.

“It isn’t anything that Niles has here,” Sakara said behind her bar. “I’m using all fresh items and no refined sugars.”

Squeeze’s menu offers blended smoothies like Peak Performance, a blend of pineapple, orange, banana and honey Sakara says will give customers an energy boost, increasing endurance and reducing muscle fatigue.

The idea is to, well, squeeze all of the nutrients out of natural foods, fruits and vegetables to create beverages and snacks that she said taste good and are good for the brain and body as well.

Some of the other items found on Squeeze’s menu include cranberry granola, butternut squash chips, oatmeal macaroons and kale chips that Sakara makes from scratch, in house.

There are also specialized extras and elixrs that can be added to beverages on the menu, like bee pollen, to act as a natural appetite suppressant or the mind over muddle elixr, a mix of raspberries, plums and herbs for clarity and focus.

Sakara has been focused on healthy eating for years, following both the vegan and raw ways of eating.

Her recipes, she said, have been tested through several people and during one of the raw potluck dinners she’s hosted.

Sakara opened the juice bar up officially during the Hunter Ice Festival just seven years after she opened Lipstick Jungle which also opened during the same event.

“We never knew what time of year would be best,” she said.

With only six weeks preparation, Sakara painted the interior of the bar, stocked up on fresh fruit, vegetables and snacks and waited to see what kind of reception the business would get.

“The place was full all three days,” she said. “People were really happy to see there was something fresh and healthy available.”

Sakara is using the power of social networking to reach out to potential customers and fans, with her Facebook page and said she did see a lot of people come in during the weekend who had learned of Squeeze online.

Right now, she said, she’s “starting out slow” offering fresh fruit and green smoothies but she hopes to eventually offer entrees.

As of right now, Squeeze offers wifi and plenty of inside seating, Sakara is also hoping to eventually provide curbside service and delivery is available.

For those who have yet to step inside, Sakara said ordering is quick and easy and it is one of her goals to “make healthy convenient.”

And she’s monitoring the long term response. Right now, Sakara said she’s manning the bar alone. The bar is a convenient and healthy venue for spa customers and she hopes to see more return customers.

“People are very curious,” she said. “And almost every vegetarian or vegan person in this town thinks they’re the only one.”

Soon, she hopes, they’ll find Squeeze is a place where they can indulge in what’s natural and healthy.

“Healthier tastes better than it used to,” she said.

A vegan and raw juice bar and eatery
Located at:
404 E. Main Street
(269) 788-2930
Find them on Facebook

Closed Monday
Tues. — Sat., 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday — noon to 5 p.m.