Juice Kitchen finds success in the city's largest food desert
Photos by Matt Haas
Maanaan Sabir of
The Juice Kitchen
It was the
watermelon juice that did it. Maanaan and JoAnne Sabir’s son, Taj,
was born with a genetic condition, ectodermal dysplasia, and for the
first five years of his life, he was in and out of hospitals and on
and off antibiotics.
means is that anything from having a piece of candy to having too much
bread could cause mucus to build up in his body," Maanaan
explains. Taj was having an attack, and he couldn’t take in any
medicine. The couple had just purchased a juicer, so they decided to
juice watermelon. Taj drank the juice and was able to expel the mucus.
"Twenty minutes later, he was fine," Maanaan says.
Taj, who is now
12, hasn’t been hospitalized since, and his parents began
experimenting with all sorts of healthy juice combinations. Maanaan
also began selling fresh juices to his personal training clients, and
he and his wife began delivering juice to dozens of other customers.
also an integrative nutritionist and a health coach.
for their tasty, healthy blends led them to open up The Juice Kitchen
in Walnut Way’s Innovations and Wellness Commons. The newly opened
juice kitchen is a bright space welcoming juice lovers from across the
city and suburbs to their little haven, which sells out of almost
every juice by closing time. "The Juice Kitchen is an
anomaly," Maanaan says. "We’re in the heart of the largest
food desert in Milwaukee. We expected it to pay the light bill. We did
not expect it to be as popular as it is."
The juice blends
come in delicious combinations like Ameera Apple Pie, a blend of
apple, nutmeg, cinnamon and honey named for their daughter, Ameera;
Purple Haze, a beet, apple, sweet potato, strawberry and lemon blend
inspired by Jimi Hendrix; Real Bucks, which pays homage to Milwaukee’s
home team with kale, lemon, lime and apple juices; and Energy, which
blends cantaloupe, sweet potato, lemon and apple juices. Besides the
juice blends, the couple and their able team of juicers combine juices
for special detox cleanses, which range from a one-day cleanse to a
they’re also expanding their offerings to special juices designed
for people suffering from various health conditions like diabetes or
irritable bowel syndrome, and on Wednesday mornings, they’ll begin
offering a 6 a.m. yoga class in the store. "Food isn’t a
cure-all, but it can significantly impact your daily life,"
really drives us is to serve the community," Maanaan says.
"Our motto is ‘More than juice.’"