Over the years, Pittsburgh has been known for many things—our sports, our steel, our sandwiches—but we’ve never been known for our health.
That, thank goodness, is changing. Our city has seen a wellness revival lately, and the opening of Delicious Raw—downtown’s first exclusive juice bar—is an example of our city’s changing appetite.
“This is an indication of the city’s increased interest in healthy living,” says Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP). “The juice bar is a fantastic addition and will fit right in.”
Owned by the folks at Eat n’ Park, Delicious Raw does all those things a juice bar does— it offers fruit-and-veggie concoctions juiced on-the-spot; their baristas can spike your juice with add-ons like bee pollen, camu camu and hemp protein; they offer a lineup of “health shots” of wheat grass, ginger or blue green algae.
And each day, employees of Delicious Raw arrive early to squeeze, blend and bottle juices and smoothies, which they sell in 16-ounce bottles. They also mix and package “wellness bowls”—some recent offerings were a “Super Bowl” made with acai, kale, banana, berries, matcha, hemp oil, almond milk and dates and a “Raw Oatmeal Bowl” of whole grain oatmeal, chia seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, dates, berries and almond milk.
Juice aficionados would be pleased to know Delicious Raw throws around phrases like sophisticated commercial centrifugal, cold press equipment and enzyme deactivation when describing their process. Check their website for the full rundown on their methodology.
Delicious Raw is attached to Hello Bistro (also owned by Eat n’ Park), which is like Eat n’ Park’s health-focused California cousin. Hello Bistro offers made-to-order salads, soup, burgers (including salmon and veggie burgers), breakfast all day and a 55-item salad bar. “The salad bar has become a fan favorite in our office,” says Waldrup.
While Delicious Raw gets the kinks out and smooths their smoothie making process, the lines might be long—but that just gives us time to practice our mindfulness meditation on patience or ponder that Pittsburgh is now the kind of a place with a juice bar downtown. We’ve come a long way from Froggy’s and Frenchy’s.
The metro area has seen more than a dozen new juice bars in the last few years. Also indicative of the shift to health, yoga studios have popped on seemingly every corner and February’s free Yoga in the Square Series attracted 1,200 yogis for Sunday classes (look for the series to return this summer). According to BikePgh, we’ve experienced a 408% bike commuter rate increase since the year 2000—the largest jump in the nation—and we have the third highest number of walking commuters in the country. Soon Market Street Grocery will open downtown, and there “are more alternatives to healthy eating,” says Waldrup.
All good things.
Although we are getting healthier, there’s room for improvement. The 2014 American Fitness Index (AFI), spearheaded by the American College of Sports Medicine, ranks Pittsburgh as 17th from a group of the 50 largest cities. Their parameters? Personal and preventive health behaviors, levels of disease, environmental and community resources and policies that support fitness.
As number 17, we sit below Denver, San Diego and Salt Lake City (no surprise there) and above Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia. Pittsburgh was commended for our high number of bike and pedestrian commuters, the ample farmers’ markets, plus our abundant parks and recreational opportunities.
Not surprisingly, our city’s “priority items” (i.e., problem areas) included obesity, smoking and the amount of veggies we eat a day—but a visit to Delicious Raw will get us working on that.
Oh, and let’s make it a city priority to get Pittsburgh in the AFI Top 10. We’re worth it.