The juice bar has been around for years, but the juice truck? Maybe it was a no-brainer, but it took two companies - the well-established Natural Born Juicers and the brand-new Twenty Two - to make the leap.
Laura and Corey Beatus started Natural Born Juicers in New York City 11 years ago, after Lucky's Juice Joint, the juice bar they'd managed in Soho, closed its doors. The couple eventually made a move to Indianapolis, Laura's hometown.
"We wanted to have a backyard and kitchen counter, and were kind of ready to have a quieter lifestyle," Laura explains, adding that ironically things didn't become all that quiet (they haven't had a vacation in four years).
After launching at the Indy Winter Farmer's Market, the couple opened a storefront at City Market in February 2011, where they sold centrifuge-extracted fresh juices and smoothies to a loyal following.
But soon enough, they didn't have enough space to keep up with a pressed-and-bottled juice service. Natural Born Juicers closed down its City Market space Oct. 11 and signed a lease on a new space on Mass Ave (opening TBD). And in the meantime, Laura and Corey are selling fresh drinks on a food truck launched Oct. 23.
"I love the sense of being nomadic, so the truck has always appealed to me," Laura says. "Working out of Indy's Kitchen, we work with a lot of people from IFTA [Indy Food Truck Alliance] - and they would come in off the truck, and I was so jealous of them - it's just this fun, free lifestyle that I wanted." The Beatuses plan to keep the truck in motion even after the Mass Ave store opens.
They're joining a juice truck scene that includes Twenty Two, founded by central Indiana natives Ross and Leslie Hanna. The couple got the idea for the truck after a weekend getaway to Asheville, N.C. had them visiting a coffee shop located in a double-decker bus.
"We were really into the whole vintage canned-ham, Shasta trailers vibe, so when we lucked upon one in Illinois we just said, let's jump on this," Leslie explained. "The trailer was busted, to put it politely," Ross added, and said they hired a vintage trailer restoration company to repair the exterior and build an interior kitchen to their design specs.
The couple had been juicing in their home for a couple years before they made the aforementioned jump, and say their biggest challenge so far has been convincing people they aren't just camping (even with the menu on display, the question gets asked).
The Twenty Two juice trailer has been in operation just two months, with a big early presence at WarmFest. They serve organic cold-pressed juices and smoothies, as well as acai bowls (acai berries blended with banana and almond milk, topped with hemp granola, fruit, and raw honey). They currently split their truck time between the northside (business parks in Fishers and Carmel) and different downtown locations.
The business is expanding quickly, and the Hannas will open a storefront in City Market on December 2, offering an expanded menu which will include more acai bowls, cold-pressed juices and cold-brewed coffee. "I think the great thing about Indy is that it's an untapped market on a lot of things," Leslie said.