Tastes like home
A few days before JuiceLand’s grand opening in February, owner Matt Shook dashes in and out of the Austin-based chain.
Shook doles out coupons to passersby and greets customers, all while catching up with longtime friends who sporadically stop by.
He’s eager to show off the Lovers Lane shop, whose green and orange walls match his T-shirt and hat. A mural of the Dallas skyline and local rock star St. Vincent is a recurring topic of conversation. She even retweeted a photo of the artwork, he says.
Shook’s health-conscious attitude and free-spirited tendencies make him seem like the quintessential Austinite.
“Just look at the colors in here, and that’s his personality,” says longtime friend Juan “Juancho” Sanchez.
But Shook is a North Dallas native, and opening the restaurant’s 26th location feels like a homecoming celebration. He transferred from Jesuit College Preparatory School to W.T. White, where he met his wife, Kelly. He was a member of W.T. White’s spirit group, which included a few bizarre rituals like the jock run, where members ran in jock straps while carrying axes. That event was an informal rite of passage, Shook says.
When he moved to Austin for college, he landed a job at a business called The Juice Joint near Barton Springs Pool. The building had plenty of charm, and the customers provided an education about the health benefits of cold-pressed juice.
The owner fled without notice, so Shook took over the business. He hired his friends as employees, and he’s opened a handful of locations in Houston and Brooklyn.
“It provided me a creative outlet,” he says. “I get to surround myself with people I like.”
They expanded the menu to include smoothies, bowls and vegan options. Shook says it’s been so successful because of its simplicity. All of the smoothies are made with frozen fruit and juice, without any dairy or added fillers. He thinks that, along with the chain’s relaxed vibe, is why it’s so popular.
“You don’t have to be a UFC fighter,” he says. “You don’t have to be driving a Rolls Royce … We welcome everybody.”
What to tryIf you’re feeling adventurous, owner Matt Shook recommends the Halla Pain Yo juice, made with carrot, lime, cilantro, turmeric, jalapeno, Himalayan sea salt and habanero. If heat isn’t your thing, stick with the carrot apple ginger juice. The Originator, which tastes like a peanut butter and jelly, is a fan-favorite smoothie.
5600 W. Lovers Lane, suite 114
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