“Eat less from a box and more from the earth.”
Ottawa, ON | Little Italy
Fitness has always been a big part of my life – I love circuit training and running. Eating healthy has always been a big priority for me. So, l love when there are new healthy spots in our city to try out. RAW Pulp + Grind is a fresh face in Little Italy – the newest venture for Richard Valente of Fratelli restaurants, Nicola Valente, Jordan O’Leary of the Morning Owl and Melissa Shabinsky.
Here is my chat with two of the owners Melissa and Nicola on their mission to make Ottawa beautiful from the inside out!
Note: All of the photos in this post are from the @rawpulpandgrind Instagram page. It’s a must follow – so refreshing!
How did the idea for RAW Pulp + Grind come about?
The four of us have been huge cold-pressed juice fans and were making our own when we started brainstorming on the idea of creating a juice bar in Ottawa. We knew that, with our climate especially, we wanted to bring a coffee and wellness tea element into it. With our combined expertise in restaurants, coffee houses, design, décor and branding, we really had the perfect team to build this new concept.
I love the logo – so bright and fresh. How long did it take you to come up with it?
We worked with a local graphic artist and it took some time to really nail it down, but we really wanted it to reflect our brand – bright, fresh and juicy! We also wanted to make the words PURE, RAW, JOY as part of our brand messaging because this process and concept is really all about the joy that we feel about this new venture.
Tell us a little about the concept behind RAW Pulp + Grind.
We wanted to bring a brand new concept to Ottawa – the first ever juicery and espresso bar. Our goal was to create a fun, energetic environment where Ottawa customers could find raw, cold press juices, organic tees and coffees as well as healthy food items to make it a healthy destination. When you walk in the doors, our goal is to make you feel that you’ve stumbled onto something truly unique.
How much fun was the recipe testing part of the process?
Fun AND frustrating, but yes fun. We spent a long time in the kitchen developing each and every juice, shot, smoothie, bowl and salad recipe to really perfect them and now we are so excited to finally be able to share.
Was there one particular combination that just didn’t work?
Yes, absolutely. In any creative process you are always going to experience some challenges. Luckily we spent so much time working hands on with the ingredients themselves that we were able to understand some of their limitations.
I have always wanted to try a juice cleanse – and I’m thinking with all the changes I am making in my life, this is a perfect time to try one out. Can you tell about the 1 and 3 day cleanses available at RAW Pulp + Grind?
Our RAW Reboot cleanse is an easy introduction into the world of cleansing. We wanted to create a cleanse that could help our customers refocus and reboot their health without making them feel that they were deprived in any way. This is about liquid love for your body. Nourishing from the inside with ingredients that can help detoxify and cleanse the body. By extracting the fibre, raw juice supplies the body with nutrition that is virtually pre-digested. Each cleanse day consists of 6 juices and 1 elixir shot.
What are wellness tea blends? Which one do you two recommend I test out first?
Our custom wellness tea blends are designed to address different health benefits and/or aliments. They are all certified organic and from fair trade sources.
Melissa – I love our antioxidant tea – it combines green tea, hibiscus, elderberry and roobius and the scent is unbelievable.
Nicola – I’m a big tea drinker, so it’s hard for me to choose just one! Ginger is one of my favourite things to eat and drink and I always enjoy a good cup of green tea. We’ve combined the two and come up with what we call Detox. The ginger is great for digestion and reducing inflammation and green tea is a powerful antioxidant. All of our teas have known health and benefit and taste amazing – it’s a win – win!
I love espresso – black. What are your favorite espresso bar drinks?
Melissa – I love a good Americano and our organic coffees are amazing but what I love most is our Beetroot Lattes! We make them with our cold pressed beet juice and either coconut or almond milk. It sounds like a crazy combination but it is really fantastic and it is a nice, warm caffeine-free energy boost – a healthy choice instead of grabbing that second cup of coffee mid-afternoon which I so often want to do!
Nicola – I don’t think you can go wrong with any of our coffees, being as our beans are certified organic and fair trade sourced. Using these beans not only supports a healthy, sustainable ecosystem, it also allows us to provide an amazing cup of coffee. We are excited for people to taste the difference!
Living a healthy lifestyle is important to me – working out, eating right. It gives you energy, makes your skin glow – I think it makes you happier too. When we were first talking about doing this interview – Melissa mentioned the concept of beauty from the inside out. What does that mean to each of you?
Melissa – I truly believe that what you put in your body reflects what you see on the outside. Your skin is your largest organ and having worked in the skincare industry for the past 15 years, I know that what you put in and on your body, really shines through in your skin. When you feed your body with pure, true, real food that nourishes and replenishes your skin, you really do glow!
Nicola – I know it sounds cliché, but I really believe you are what you eat. I try to stick to a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. That’s not to say that I don’t stray from that and indulge on the occasion! I definitely do. But when that happens, I feel the negative effects. I have less energy and don’t think I look my best. That’s when I know it’s time to reboot and do our juice cleanse!