by Corin Hirsch
With electric-blue walls, shelves filled with skin products and the buzz of a juicer mixing with house music, Eco Bean and Juice defies categorization — other than its focus on healthy (and sometimes caffeinated) insides.
Justin Cruz, who used to run Salon Cruz on Saint Paul Street, opened the salon-slash-juice bar in December in a cavernous space that was most recently a Meineke Car Care Center.
On one side of the space, Cruz and his staff run a salon and sell organic and natural beauty products; on the other is a kitted-out juice and coffee bar with an exhaustive menu featuring wheatgrass shots, fresh vegetables juices, and even house-made almond milk for lattes and mochas, all dreamt up by Cruz and barista Angela Talbert.
"There was no place in Burlington to get wheatgrass shots," says Cruz, though I reminded him of the Juice Bar in Burlington Mall that offers them on Wednesdays. "All week long," he clarified. Cruz also wanted to offer organic milk from Kimball Brook Farm for his coffees, which are brewed with organic beans from Ozo Coffee Roasters in Colorado.
Juices range from $6.50 up to $11 and are filled with various blends of greens, herbs and veggies; a Minty Green combines celery, mint, spinach and apples, while a Hot Rocket pairs those same apples with cilantro, coconut water and jalapeño.
I walked out with a bright-red Careberry smoothie — a blend of orange and apple juices, frozen raspberries and carrot juice, which lent the whole thing a sweet earthiness. I took my first sip while standing in the slushy parking lot outside, and it made the afternoon seem a few degrees warmer.
Eco Bean and Juice, 688 Pine St., Burlington, 861-2789. Open seven days.