New Chef-Driven Juice Mecca: Chicago's Owen + Alchemy - Food & Beverage Magazine

New Chef-Driven Juice Mecca: Chicago’s Owen + Alchemy

UnknownOWEN + ALCHEMY, a gourmet, chef-driven juice concept, opened for business in October in Chicago’s rapidly expanding Logan Square. In partnership with hospitality group Element Collective (Nellcôte, Old Town Social, RM Champagne Salon, Kinmont, Leghorn)—Chef/Partner Jared Van Camp and publisher-turned-entrepreneur Anne M. Owen present a reinvented take on the traditional “juice bar” concept with the launch of this “beyond-organic” counter-service cafe. Located at 2355 North Milwaukee Avenue, OWEN + ALCHEMY is dedicated to bringing a holistic approach to the juice industry with an added culinary component. Nationally renowned for his unwavering, almost obsessive belief in the local, conscious and sustainable food movement, Van Camp was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes nearly 20 years ago, a condition which now contributes to his personal passion for the current wellness movement.

Every detail of the 1,000 square foot space has been thoughtfully designed in connection with local collaborators. Additionally, Van Camp’s menu was tailored to mirror the same approach he takes toward his more traditional, cuisine-focused projects, emphasizing bold, sophisticated flavors created by a chef’s palate as well as hyper-local ingredients, optimization of nutrition through cold-press equipment, and above-and-beyond eco-friendly practices.

OWEN + ALCHEMY is also an active participant in its vibrant neighborhood and city—a central component to Owen’s vision for the café. Local artists and artisans were called in at each stage of the development process to help shape the atmosphere and offerings available at the store. Local community members will continue to be a vital piece of OWEN + ALCHEMY’s identity now that doors are open, as nutritionists as well as Chinese Medicine guru Giselle Wasfie are available in an ongoing capacity for on-site consultations. An advisory council of some of Chicago’s most active, informed and style-centric residents also contribute periodic guidance and fresh ideas to the OWEN + ALCHEMY team.

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ADDITIONAL DETAILS

THE VIBE
OWEN + ALCHEMY offers Logan Square and Chicago residents an all-day gathering space with striking design elements highlighting locally-crafted art and furniture. Its completely chef-driven menu from Executive Chef Jared Van Camp gives its juices a new, culinary approach, and, with health and wellness experts at the ready, OWEN + ALCHEMY strives to “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

THE JUICE & PLANT-BASED BITES:
Owen+Alchemy_071114_101Served in all-glass, custom-designed bottles with matte black labels and black metal caps, the bar’s juice offerings boast power-packed health benefits and developed flavor profiles. Covering categories such as seasonal, cold-pressed juices, super food smoothies, healthy, concentrated shots like wheatgrass and aloe, and nut milks on tap, the menu caters to a variety of tastes and dietary guidelines. OWEN + ALCHEMY also offers a handful of organic offerings such as the sweet potato bowl with apple, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, hemp yogurt, pecans, pumpkin seed + flax seed topping and a raw oatmeal bowl with chia seed pudding, raw local honey and vanilla bean. Fresh dishes such as the kelp noodle salad with jalapeño-lemongrass vinaigrette, daikon, cilantro and scallions also decorate the menu alongside additional plant-based offerings such as the 3-kale salad with shaved fennel, almonds, radishes + creamy avocado dressing. Ingredients have been thoughtfully selected by working with purveyors who champion sustainable practices, and the café employs a relentless focus on using organic, local, heirloom and seasonal produce. In addition, OWEN + ALCHEMY offers customizable daily and multi-day juice and superfood programs, curbside pickup and city-wide delivery.

THE DESIGN ELEMENTS:
Design is an important component of the overall OWEN + ALCHEMY experience. Local botanical artist Heather Shouse of Bottle & Branch has created a custom living green installation highlighted in the space’s large, front-facing window. Upon entering, the two main store walls are decorated by an original art piece from local artist Curtis Jere on one side and an intricate Potluck Creative take on an ‘alchemic wheel’ on the other, and the focal point of the space centers around a stunning Live Edge Communal Table—another local collaborative creation by Brandon Hards of B Line Design and Taylor Wallace of Metal Magic. Employee wardrobes were designed by Chicago favorite Elise Bergman, who collaborated on the initial concept with style curator Mel Muoio to create a fashion-forward nod to the old school lab coat.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES:
The glass bottles utilized at OWEN + ALCHEMY are leaps and bounds better for the environment than traditional plastic juice bottles. Labels are purposefully easy to remove, which encourages customers to continue using the glass bottles for their own personal use or opt to return the bottle to the store for a $1 credit toward future juice purchases. OWEN + ALCHEMY offers recycling in-store and has partnered with a commercial composting partner in order to fully close the loop within the juice production cycle.

THE ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:
Frequent juicers are encouraged to explore one of the juice bar’s membership or subscription packages. Membership involves enrolling in a monthly prepaid program entitling you to 10, 20, or 30 discounted juices or smoothies each month. The subscription package provides a custom-selected rotating order of juices and one food item delivered either once or twice each week. Additionally, OWEN + ALCHEMY offers custom juice cleanses and corporate programs.

THE “ALCHEMISTS:”
Giselle Wasfie (L.AC., MSTOM) holds a Masters in traditional Chinese Medicine and has created a line of 5 custom herbal blends exclusive to OWEN + ALCHEMY, which are housed in black glass vials. Wasfie also consults on the menu and the responsible incorporation of Chinese herbs. She’ll continue to be a large presence at OWEN + ALCHEMY, where she’ll be available for consultation once a week.

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ABOUT OWEN + ALCHEMY: OWEN + ALCHEMY is a modern, chef-driven take on cold-pressed juicing located in the heart of Chicago’s burgeoning Logan Square neighborhood. A collaboration between Chicago hospitality collective Element Collective, award-winning chef Jared Van Camp and lifestyle guru Anne M. Owen, OWEN + ALCHEMY provides locals with a counter-service menu of cold-pressed juices, superfood smoothies, nut milks on tap, and plant-based bites in addition to a variety of healthy, concentrated shots and herb supplements. The holistic cafe also offers customized juice cleanses and programs, a striking space highlighting locally-designed art and furniture, and a completely chef-driven menu that gives juicing the culinary expertise it has needed. OWEN + ALCHEMY is located at 2355 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago, IL and is open 9am—7pm, 7 days a week. For more information, call 773.227.3444 or visit owenandalchemy.com. The brand can be found on twitter, facebook, Tumblr, and instagram.

ABOUT ANNE M. OWEN: After earning the reputation of an expert marketer, leader and brand builder in the luxury industry through 13 years in publishing, Anne M. Owen brings her passion for conscious living back to her hometown with OWEN + ALCHEMY. As publisher of Miami magazine, Modern Luxury Brides South Florida and the Caribbean, Miami Charity and Social Datebook, Official Guide to the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, and Chicago Social Brides, Owen has also spent time at Cosmopolitan and CosmoGIRL! magazines, and as Director of Front Desk magazine. Owen’s publishing career has taken her to major markets including New York, Chicago and Miami, and has allowed her to work with some of the top innovators in the health, beauty, wellness, culinary and hospitality industries. During her time at Modern Luxury Media, Owen established herself as a savvy leader, overseeing the most successful launch of a new title, setting the record for most profitable launch of a regional title—and most recently as group publisher in the Miami market—she grew Miami to one of the company’s most successful markets with a gross revenue of over four million dollars. As the daughter of a physician, health and the science behind it has always been important to Owen. However, it wasn’t until a 2004 trip around the world that Owen fully realized her passion for the ideas of preventative medicine and responsible living. Over the past decade, Owen has witnessed the astounding benefits—both on the individual and community-wide levels—that this lifestyle creates. Owen was a member of the Miami Advisory Board for Common Threads, a committee member for the Miami Science Museum, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, and many other organizations. She is a vegetarian with occasional pescatarian tendencies, a dedicated Ashtanga Yoga practitioner, a religious juicer, and an advocate for all things natural.

ABOUT JARED VAN CAMP
: With a rapidly growing reputation as one of the most progressive chefs in the country, Van Camp’s fanatical attention to detail, passionate support of local farmers and everything-made-in-house credo first helped establish “bar food” as a serious culinary trend nationwide. After studying directly under culinary icons Rick Tramonto and Paul Kahan, Van Camp became partner and Executive Chef of both Old Town Social in Chicago and Quality Social in San Diego in 2009. At Old Town Social, he developed the first HACCP plan in the city of Chicago for dry curing meat in a restaurant. The restaurants cure their meats in house and have an on site charcuterie program. Van Camp has been recognized by culinary luminaries as one of StarChefs’ prestigious Rising Star Chefs of 2011, Restaurant Hospitality Magazine’s “12 to Watch in 2012” and was the first chef in the US to mill fresh flour in house daily at his restaurant Nellcôte in Chicago in 2012. Featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Esquire, Travel & Leisure and Bon Appetit, Van Camp is a frequent featured chef at the Green City Market, a member of the Green City Market Junior Board and a member of Mayor Daley’s Chicago Gourmet Council. Van Camp has hosted national culinary fundraisers for Common Threads, and is involved with Share our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” campaign, actively lobbying on behalf of the organization on Capitol Hill.

ABOUT ELEMENT COLLECTIVE:
Element is a collective of highly motivated, disciplined and accomplished operators in the hospitality world. Each Element concept and business is launched with a vision so simple, it’s almost radical: a balance between the progressive and the approachable. A collaboration of eminent names in hospitality, Element Collective consists of industry veterans Chris Dexter, Chris Freeman, John Warken and Jared Van Camp, who are successfully launching innovative projects in several markets throughout the U.S. With a quiet confidence that comes from equal parts experience and passion, their concepts appeal to an audience based solely on attitude and lifestyle rather than conventional demographic restraints. For more information, please visit: www.elementcollective.com.