Listen Up, This is Juicy!
After moving back home to Greenville 2 years ago, I was on a search for the plant-based restaurant options that I was so accustomed to. For our small, foodie town, there are a lot more options than one might think. Kuka Juice is one of my very favorite places. Samantha Shaw and Abigail Mitchell bring a friendly, fresh vibe to the Village of West Greenville. I've been a patron since the first day we moved home, and excited to see where this young, innovative duo will take their health concept next.
Q: You all were the first cold-pressed juice company to come to town, and lucky for us, started a healthy trend of juicing and plant-based eating. Tell us about Kuka Juice and how you got started? What was the motivation to bring juice to Greenville?
After a trip to South America, we fell in love with the fresh juice everywhere and how great we felt the whole time while traveling. We started juicing for ourselves when we returned stateside and the motivation for Kuka came from noticing the lack of healthy juice/food options in Greenville at the time. Having just graduated and looking to create careers we were passionate about, Kuka Juice was born.
Q: What has the response been from the community?
It has been amazing over the six years we have been in business to see the community grow with us in our journey. We started as a pop up on Main Street in front of Pedal Chic when it was hard to even get people to try a green juice. Now, it’s so inspiring to see people seek us out to help reestablish their health.
Q: In your opinion, what are the biggest health advantages of drinking fresh juices?
We truly believe that the most important part of Kuka Juice is the cold-pressed juicing process. Drinking unpasteurized, cold-pressed juice makes all the difference and gives the most immediate health benefits. Consuming cold-pressed juice allows our bodies to receive maximum nutrients from fruit and vegetables in the quickest most convenient way. Juicing releases vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, and minerals from the fiber, which allows highly concentrated nutrients to directly enter your cells in a rapid and effective manner.
Q: As you’ve grown, you’ve added more food and snack items to your menu. How do you come up with your recipes, and what’s your favorite thing to make?
When we first opened, we were just juice, and it was always part of the dream to own a full service cafe. The most fun and interesting part has been to find ways to take our favorite recipes and flavors and transform them to create healthier plant-based versions.
Our favorite thing to make in the kitchen are our specialty cheesecakes. It’s so fun to have the freedom to create something beautiful and healthy all in the same form. The cheesecakes allow us to be creative with the flavors of the season.
Q: What are each of your favorite recipes? And do you both eat a plant-based diet all the time?
There’s no question that between both of us and our staff our soups and daily specials are always the favorite. They allow us to utilize the freshest local produce of the season, which is always the best way to get the most flavor.
We both love the plant-based philosophy because of the way we feel and how our bodies react to fresh, seasonal, healthy meals. That said, neither of us eat strictly plant-based. Samantha predominantly eats a vegetarian diet, while Abigail feels that the most important thing is to prioritize local, seasonal and organic whole foods.
Q: Do you have any recommendations for people who might want to make fresh juice at home?
At home juicing can be messy and costly, and it leaves a lot of nutrients behind in the pulp. If someone is looking to get into juicing at home, our top tips would be to utilize the juicer for ‘juicy’ fruits and vegetables, and then blend the fruit juice that you yield with leafy greens—as conventional juicers tend to not get much yield out of greens and fibrous produce. A second tip is to always run the pulp through a second time to help get as much out of your produce as possible. However, we truly believe that unless you have invested in a cold press juicer, it's best to leave the dirty work to us.
Q: How have you adapted to daily business in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The safety of the community has been our number one priority, so we have been adapting differently every day as each day brings new challenges. We have upped our sterilizing and cleaning methods and our employees are wearing masks. We have also tried to be as contactless as possible by offering free deliveries on Monday, more family sized options and curb-side pickups.
Q: What is it like operating your business with a best friend?
It is the most beautiful, chaotic adventure and we wouldn’t change it for anything. Being life-long best friends has prepared us well for the ups and downs of the roller coaster that is having a business relationship. What’s better than getting to be your own boss while doing it with someone you highly respect, look at as family and share the same values with!
Q: What are you most excited about for the future of Kuka Juice?
We’re excited to continue to grow with the health conscious movement that has taken off in Greenville. We love growing our partnerships with like-minded businesses and farmers and working with the community around us. Stay tuned, we’re excited to see where Kuka is headed.
Q: Where can people learn more about your brand and experience your unique and delicious juice and food?
We would love to see you at our storefront in the Village of West Greenville at 580 Perry Avenue. We are currently open from 8-2pm, M-F and 10-2pm on Saturday
https://kukajuice.square.site/ for online ordering
www.kukajuice.com basic info and more about us!
@kukajuice for updates and daily specials
We are vendors at the Greenville Saturday Market (check market website for an updated calendar and information)