Not Your Everyday O.J.

Downtown Xoom Juice has fresh, cold-pressed juices (again).

March 1, 2014

GleaningsGreenIssue 5: March/April 2014
A server at Xoom Juice presents a Maximum Cactus smoothie. Photo by Steve McMackin.

A server at Xoom Juice presents a Maximum Cactus smoothie.

Tucson is rocking urban cool like it’s going out of style. Our world-class cuisine is expandin by the minute, we’ve got bike lines and a streetcar, and could we have any more quality local brewers? Now, we’ve got a local entrepreneur who’s getting a jump on the buzzy trend of “cold-pressed” juices.

The cold-press method is being lauded of late because, unlike its 70s-era hippie centrifugal ancestor, it squeezes more nutrients from the pulp of fruits and veggies, and better preserves their “nutritional profile” by using minimal heat. And if you’re justifying that midnight mac-and-cheese by drinking a morning green juice, well, every nutrient counts.

Back in 2001 when he first opened Xoom, owner Ari Shapiro started out with fresh squeezed juices as part of his menu. But those were the smoothie boom days, and sales for smoothies vastly outweighed the juices. He gave away his juicers and focused on making the quality, healthy smoothies Xoom has become known for.

But after witnessing (and participating in) the food trends in Tucson of late, Shapiro, who also owns Falora and Sparkroot, decided it was time to give juice another go. The downtown location will now be offering design-your-own juices with ingredients like beets, cucumber, lemon, lime, kale, aloe, mint, coconut water, ginger, and cayenne. “This isn’t meant to be a meal replacement on its own,” Shapiro said. “To me, a green juice and a Lärabar is a great light meal.” Xoom also carries locally made health bars such as Julie Bar.

Downtown Xoom’s smoothies will also get a makeover. Though the old beloved combinations will still be possible, the ordering process will be streamlined and customers will get a pen and paper to mark their favorite ingredients (much like the Bloody Mary bar at Hotel Congress). Xoom’s signature acai bowls will be design-your-own as well. Customers can make it a meal by adding hearty seeds, nuts, oat bran, raw coconut, and more.

What inspired the change? Shapiro said, “I’ve seen a demographic change downtown, so it’s an acknowledgement of that changing scene. There are more professionals who may be looking for a lighter, healthier lunch option. You have to be flexible and fluid and willing to change it up.”

For his part, Shapiro has been eating smoothies or a juice and bar combination for lunch for over five years. “I’m the guinea pig for this. I feel clean, remarkable, never weighed down. The calories are working for you, not against you.”

Molly Kincaid is a Tucsonan who is obsessed with tinkering in the kitchen and reading cookbooks. Her favorite foods are, paradoxically, kale and pork belly.

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