In three years, Jugofresh partners Matthew Sherman and Darren “Chef Paco” Laszlo have watched their little juice bar grow from a single location in Miami Beach to a seven-shop mini-empire with additions in Coral Gables and North Miami this month.
“I never thought we’d open up two stores in a week and a half,” Sherman said. “I never thought I’d open up one store, so we are really taking it step by step.”
The friends opened their first place, 1935 West Ave., in Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbour neighborhood in 2012. Sherman, a former holistic health coach who made cold-pressed juices on the side, got his chef friend hooked on the power of raw.
“He said, ‘You have to try a couple juices that I made,’” Laszlo said. “Matthew was the one who introduced me to this lifestyle, because before that I didn’t know how to make juices. So he kind of walked me through the process, and the result of the process is Jugofresh.”
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That first location started with a humble menu of nine juices, three smoothies, an acai bowl and oatmeal. Jugofresh’s menu now includes sandwiches, salads, yogurts, smoothies and more than 60 options of juices that are cold-pressed every day and made from a variety of raw fruits, vegetables and spices.
One option, Superfood Gazpacho, is a blend of cucumber, spinach, avocado, water, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic, parsley, maca, chlorella, hemp, sea salt and habanero powder. The juice options vary by season, and Jugofresh workers give away any products that aren’t sold within 48 hours of being made.
“Our ticket is a fresh look: to employ people in a very conscious way, trying to add to our community as much as we possibly can, and make an incredibly fresh and healthy product,” Sherman said.
Jugofresh’s sixth location opened June 3 at 2516 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables. On Monday, June 15, the seventh opened, at 14871 Biscayne Blvd. in North Miami.
Sebastian Saldarriaga, 28, started working at Jugofresh in September, joining the company as an entry-level “teammate” (store associate). He has moved up to be “head coach” (general manager) at the North Miami café.
“I’m getting the opportunity where I live, the community I grew up in, to represent this amazing company, this amazing brand that cares so much about the community and the people,” Saldarriaga said. “Everything is organic. Everything is fresh. So it’s basically raising awareness of what you are eating, what you are putting into your body.”
Ginger Harris, 37, is a vegetarian and has been a customer of Jugofresh since the very beginning, she said.
“I drink a ton of juices, so it’s my lifestyle and ... that way I know that I’m getting the nutrients,” Harris said.
Added Sherman: “That’s what wakes us up in the morning: making great stuff.”
If You Go
Where: Multiple locations; the latest is 14871 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami.
More info: jugofresh.com.