Co-founder Alexandra Everk serves customers at Jugo Salad & Juicebar on Champlain Drive in the Woodward Park area.
Written by Frank Lopez
Fresnans now have another healthy eating option with the opening of Jugo Salad & Juice Bar on Champlain Drive near Woodward Park.
Opened towards the end of March, Jugo’s offers build-your-own salads as well as their signature salads, custom acai bowls, smoothies, cold pressed juices, oatmeal bowls in the morning, and properly portioned prepped meals.
Founders Lewis Everk and his wife Alexandra Everk, got the idea to open up Jugo Salad & Juice bar from travelling around the world and seeing all the healthy eating options that were offered, especially in large metros.
“We go to L.A., we go to San Diego, we go to New York, and there’s places like this on every corner but there is zero locations like this in Fresno,” Lewis, 42, said. “We saw some places that had healthy eating options, some places that did juice bars and we decided to combine everything all into one.”
Around 75 percent of the produce Jugo uses is organic, and they source everything from local vendors.
Surprisingly enough, organic produce is not as easily available in the Central Valley as one might think because there is not a high demand for it on a large scale, and vendors don’t make it a priority to sell it even though it is grown here, Lewis added.
Lewis is a cancer survivor and also a diabetic and was trying to adapt healthier eating options for himself and his family, and that led him to the idea for Jugo Salad & Juice Bar.
“I’m trying to first teach myself, then my family and our friends to eat healthier, incorporate more fruits and vegetables, and to eat proper portion sizes. That was the basis for it all,” Lewis said.
The idea for Jugo had been on the backburner for five years. The Everks waited on it because they were not sure if Fresno would be ready to embrace a salad and juice bar.
However, even before it even officially opened, Lewis and Alexandra received a number of emails and calls from people anxious for Jugo to open. Lewis has been involved with a number of restaurants over the years and said that he has never seen such anticipation from the public for one to open, especially after social media has made more people aware about healthy eating choices and lifestyle habits.
Though it was a big bite to try and combine all facets of Jugo’s Salad and Juice Bar, the community is taking notice, and Lewis has noticed that other salad and juice bars are now opening up in Fresno.
“I like that they have a salad bar, not many places have that,” said Brittany Williams, a second time customer at Jugo who said she would probably become a regular. “I like that you can build your own salad, I’ve had the fruit and a smoothie, and everything here is really good.”
“I really liked that they have these eating options,” Ashley Cagle, a first time customer said. “It’s good to have the health conscious in mind.”
Lewis said that the Fresno market can be unforgiving and that many people will not return to a business if they are not satisfied the first time, so Lewis and Alexandra have been progressing in phases to make sure they do not bite off more than they can chew, and provide customers with the best experience possible.
An app for pick-up is in development and Lewis says he hopes that one day maybe Jugo Salad & Juice bar can expand enough to go national and franchise.
Alexandra says she is happy to bring healthier eating options to Fresno, and she hopes Jugo Salad & Juice Bar becomes a well-known location for people looking for health foods.
“It makes it hard when there is nothing in Fresno for people who want to eat healthy and don’t know how,” Alexandra said. “We want to be really convenient so that people who don’t know how to cook or eat healthy can come here and not have to stress about it.”