Health food lovers will find that the opening of Press Raw Food & Juice was well worth the wait. That’s because the downtime between closing on Connecticut Street and reopening on Grant Street (December 18) has given the owner a chance to tweak her business model in ways that will make her customers happier than ever. Personally, I can’t wait until Press reopens because I have found myself craving some of the ‘elixirs’ that I enjoyed on a fairly regular basis at the Horsefeathers Market.
When Press does reopen, health nuts will find that the offerings have ramped in a number of ways. The bottling boutique will be selling a lot more than juices… the new menu will feature a nutritious smoothie bar, organic juices bottled in-house and made to order, wheatgrass and other organic energy shots, coconut water, cold-brewed coffee, homemade nut milks and other healthy beverages, as well as organic produce and salads, vegetable pastas, falafels, nut-based cheeses, nut butters, energy bars, muffins, dry fruits, spices and healthy snacks and desserts. “Press specializes in organic cold-pressed juices and raw organic foods,” said owner and executive chef Esther Pica. “We are, I think, the first in Buffalo to offer an entirely raw, vegan, organic and gluten-free menu. We’re sure that the demand is here.”
From operating a juice bar in New York City’s East Village two decades ago, to finding herself drawn to the West Side of Buffalo, Esther has come a long way to bring these special healthy treats to a growing ethnic market-driven area of the city. Her own version of a health market on Grant Street should fit right in. “I love Buffalo and my new home on the city’s West Side,” said Pica. “My heart belongs to Grant Street. It’s a funky, multi-ethnic, up-and-coming area with a college nearby. There’s a coffee shop, yoga studio, new bar/lounge and used book store within a few blocks of my shop. Grant Street is evolving into more of a destination — you can really see the changes taking place every day. All the Grant Street business owners have been really welcoming and supportive… it’s a great little neighborhood!”
Once open, Esther will also bring her ‘green’ sensibilities to a city that could still use some help in the eco-department. When you purchase a drink or food at Press, you can be assured that the to-go containers are either reusable or biodegradable. “It’s a bit more work for us and an extra step for the consumer to return them to get their deposits back but most everyone appreciates the fact that we’re keeping plastic bottles out of the environment,” added Pica. “Some people even opt to keep the bottles for their own reuse.” In addition to the recycling and the reuse, all of the unused pulp from making the drinks will be donated to local gardens for composting.