By this time next Monday, you may be sipping an açaí smoothie, fresh-squeezed carrot juice, or a Sunny Side Up breakfast cocktail of pineapple, mango, banana, oatmeal, OJ and honey. The sign and a few more finishing touches are the only things holding back the opening of Fresh Blends, East Nashville's new juice and smoothie bar, which is joining the new Ugly Mugs coffeehouse in the Walden space on Eastland Avenue across from the Eastside Portland Brew.
Co-owner/operator Tony Reall, who runs Fresh Blends with partner David Edwards, says a soft opening is tentatively scheduled for next Monday, July 28. If all goes according to plan, a grand opening will follow that Saturday, replete with giveaways, free T-shirts, gift cards, and special prizes for the very first customers to walk through the doors.
But as Reall admits, "according to plan" doesn't describe the effort that beset him and Edwards as they set out to open their first food venture.
"It was a much different process from what we imagined," says Reall, a familiar face to neighborhood residents from his work at the East Nashville YMCA. From scouring other juice bars for ideas on pricing and procedure to lining up a location and finishing the interior, two years of work have gone into Fresh Blends before the first grapefruit has even been squished.
When it opens, though, Reall says that customers can expect an assortment of juices and smoothies derived from fresh or individually quick frozen (IQF) fruits and vegetables, including locally grown organic wheatgrass. The menu promises health-nut staples such as pomegranate, green tea and açaí. (I've been meaning to ask Claudia if she's noticed any benefits from the açaí, or if the Brazilian berry is all hype—pulp fiction, as it were.)
So why is East Nashville hopping with restaurant activity while numerous places have closed across the river in recent months? Don't know, but Reall and Edwards both say that their fellow East Nashville restaurateurs and small-business owners have been generous with time and advice. Perhaps a rising tide of juice and coffee raises all boats.
Fresh Blends is located at 1888 Eastland Ave. If you want a peek at the location, an exterior photo of Reall, his dog Macey and Edwards follows after the jump.