While the Florida Keys are known for some of their famous watering holes like Sloppy Joe’s and Green Parrot, sometimes you crave a healthier kind of bar. Perhaps you need a burst of energy on your way to Key West or a hangover cure when heading back to the mainland? Now with the recent addition of Urbn Grdn in Islamorada, there are juice bars for a quick pit stop at any point on your road trip through the Keys.
Get a healthy boost at these Florida Keys juice bars — Photo courtesy of Claudia Miller
Urbn Grdn in Islamorada
Despite its bright yellow exterior, the tiny Urbn Grdn is easy to miss on U.S. Highway 1. Watch for the Marker 88 Restaurant sign, and it’s right across the street. While only 180 square feet inside, the shop is packed with nutrient-rich goodness. Last November, they started with three drinks on the menu and have rapidly expanded as word spread through social media and online reviews.
Owner Robert Meireles has stocked the shelves with easy-to-grab snacks like Just Pure Foods' cheesy kale chips, superfood Bliss Bars, Earthling Organics' rawnola and fresh fruit. He works hard behind the counter juicing up made-to-order recipes.
Try his most popular drink Kale-Aid, a mix of kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger. All of his produce is organic and locally sourced whenever possible. If you want a quick shot to the bloodstream, go with the Key’Zinger, which includes wheatgrass juice with apple, ginger and lemon.
You’ll also find smoothies in delicious flavors, such as strawberry cacao made with strawberry, banana, cocoa nibs, vanilla and fresh homemade almond milk. Superfood supplements such as chia seeds, macca, goji berries or spirulina can be added to pump up the volume on the smoothies.
Recently opened Urbn Grdn in Islamorada has organic juices and snacks for the road — Photo courtesy of Claudia Miller
There’s a small seating area outside amidst a garden filled with fragrant mint, rosemary and basil plants. Climbing vines are covered in red tomatoes, and green peppers are just waiting to be picked. Meireles calls the garden his laboratory, as he continues to experiment with new ingredients. For now, it’s simply a lovely place to kick back for a moment and relish in replenishing your body before you resume your travels.
Food for Thought in Marathon
Hidden in the Gulfside Village Plaza in Marathon, Food for Thought has a vegan/vegetarian cafe and juice bar tucked away in the back of their health food store. It’s a perfect spot to get lunch for the road.
Try their popular hummus wrap made from homemade organic hummus, veggies, sunflower sprouts and balsamic dressing. Pair with their fresh gluten-free muffins in flavors like black forest, lemon-chia or banana-hemp for dessert. While you wait for your order, peruse their extensive collection of books on healthy living.
Good Food Conspiracy in Big Pine Key
Big Pine Key's Good Food Conspiracy has been an oasis for vegetarians for over 30 years, and they have the hippie vibe to prove it. Blink and you might miss it on the Overseas Highway, so be on the lookout for their "Juice Bar and Deli" sign.
Inside the low-key natural food market, you'll find a deli serving a variety of healthy soups, wraps, salads, juices, smoothies and desserts. Pull up a stool at the juice bar, or take your goodies out back to the picnic tables in the herb garden. Try the Freeze, frozen organic fruit transformed into ice cream.
Help Yourself in Key West
Tucked away on a side street in Old Town Key West, Help Yourself is a colorful natural food market and cafe in a re-purposed gas station. Dishes on the menu are labeled - vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free - and the friendly staff can answer any questions. Everything is made from scratch using fresh, organic, non-processed foods.
A raised outdoor garden with picnic tables offers limited seating, but they have carry-out, grab-and-go items and a juice bar. Unique supplements such as Green Magma, Greens+ and aloe can be added to any juice or smoothie.
Coffee lovers will relish the organic options and variety of milks and sweeteners that meet any dietary need. If you're in Key West for a few days, you'll most likely "help yourself" here more than once.