East Grand Rapid’s Clean Juice was a pleasant visit, but ultimately not for me


How I wound up at Clean Juice at East Grand Rapid’s Gaslight Village might forever be a mystery to me because, as those close to me know, I’m not one for eating– or drinking– healthy. My daily intake consists mostly of carbs and fast food, so healthy foods are quite out of my range.

But I’ve also always been one for trying something new and expecting to find a tropical, fruity smoothie to try, I was excited to walk through Clean Juice’s doors. While I was staggered by what awaited me, I was surprisingly content that I tried something new.

Situated on Wealthy Street on a picturesque, commercial cul-de-sac, Clean Juice resides within a small notch in the scenic building, surrounded by similarly alluring shops. While it may be compact, its lack of magnitude contributes to the cozy, welcoming aura engulfing it.

Decked out in lime green and dark gray decor, the juicery screams modern and tempting with its array of seating and gray brick lining. The atmosphere was immediately inviting for a first visitor like myself; tying it all together is the extensive slate black menu hovering over the array of blenders and food processors.

The complex menu puzzled me at first; I was mostly expecting a large variety of fruity smoothies, as that’s what the location is advertised as. However, I was puzzled to see a smaller variety of fruit smoothies, with only a few tropical options available. Instead, the menu was full of protein shakes, acai bowls, juices, and cold-pressed bowls and health shots. My illusion of a smoothie wonderland was smashed and replaced with a health-crazed juicery.

However, I didn’t let this deter me; the helpful employee saw that I was struggling and gave me a quick rundown of the menu. Focused mostly around healthy, body-boosting food, I learned that the juice menu is centered around protein, organics, and above all, clean eating; perhaps I should have been more perceptive of the outlet’s name. It took me a while to finally decide, as the most prominent ingredients like coconut, charcoal, and kale didn’t quite interest me. Finally, with the aid and advice of the talented juice-creator in front of me, I ordered the Chocolate Cherry Smoothie.

Upon receiving my smoothie rather rapidly, I was intrigued by its dark maroon tint and quickly took a sip. An eclectic fusion of banana, almond milk, vanilla, and cherries, the fruity tinge was immediately conquered by the cacao taste, a surprise that I didn’t mind. The smooth blend was less artificial than I was expecting, but my undeserving palette enjoyed the break from synthetic consumption and introduction to organic delights.

I continually sipped the concoction on my walk and drive home, but after twenty minutes and consuming a quarter of it, I found myself extremely stuffed and unable to finish my drink. At only 16 ounces, it wasn’t the quantity of my purchase, but rather how compact and packed the smoothie was.

At $7 for my 16 ounces, I chose one of the cheapest options, especially with other alternatives nearing $20 for one cup. For me personally, smoothies and health shakes are not my go-to method for splurging; I’d have to say that Taco Bell and Culvers take the trophy for that one. I did enjoy my smoothie, but I would most likely frequent another juice location or eatery over this one.

Clean Juice was a good experience to try something different, but for the high prices and menu that don’t necessarily fit my tastes, I’m not sure I’d return.

So while Clean Juice may not be for me, there’s no doubt that it’s an extremely viable and potentially enjoyable option for others. For those interested in eating healthy, covering all the food groups in a day, or delectably varied nutritious options, Clean Juice is undoubtedly the place to stop by.