Just 15 months after opening The Juice Cellar in downtown Belfast, owner Chris Roberts is ready to open the second location of his juice bar and vegan cafe in downtown Bangor. He’s eyeing a fall grand opening for his new business, which will offer fresh pressed juice, coffee and tea, vegan and raw snacks, freshly chopped salads and a once-weekly vegan dinner service.
“Almost as soon as we opened in Belfast I had my eye on Bangor,” said Roberts, who lives in Stockton Springs. “There’s definitely an untapped market for vegan food and juicing in Bangor.”
Roberts, a Bangor native, plans to open the cafe in mid to late October, in a recently renovated retail space located at 76 Main St. The space was part of a recent acquisition by the Bangor Housing Authority of an unused part of the Freese’s Building, adjacent to the Maine Discovery Museum on the corner of Water and Main Streets. BHA is renovating the bottom floor for retail, and two upper floors into one and two-bedroom apartments. The Juice Cellar was one of the earliest tenants to inquire about the space; Roberts has been working on bringing his business to the location since February.
The Juice Cellar will partner with the Maine Discovery Museum to offer catered lunches for groups of kids and families attending the museum. Roberts is well-versed in special dietary needs, and can offer vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free menu items.
“They’ve wanted a cafe element in the museum for a long time, and I have a duel income stream coming into the restaurants, so it works out really well,” said Roberts.
The juice offerings will be mostly similar to what Roberts offers at his Belfast shop — loads of fresh produce and fruit, juiced in one of the cafe’s several high-powered juicers, and served on the spot ($5 for a small, $6 for a large). Roberts will also offer smoothies and pre-made cold-pressed juices, which keep for days in the fridge, as opposed to just a few hours for regular fresh-pressed juices.
Aside from the juice, there will also be an array of vegan and raw snacks opened on a daily basis, and daily lunch service featuring made to order salads, akin to the offerings at urban chain restaurants including Chop’t and Sweet Green. By the end of 2014, Roberts also hopes to offer a once-weekly vegan dinner service, served on either a Friday or Saturday.
Roberts is no stranger to the food industry. His family has worked in both retail and service for generations. His great-grandfather owned and operating the Bangor Fruit Company in the 1930s, while his grandfather opened Bangor’s first supermarket, with the IGA on State Street, where the Family Dollar is now located. The family also operated an IGA supermarket on Union Street in the 1970s, as well as Checkmate Restaurant at Bangor International Airport.
“Food service is in my blood. And food in Bangor in particular is something my family has done for four generations,” said Roberts. “I’m really excited to bring this home.”
Roberts will be launching an IndieGoGo campaign next Friday, Aug. 15 to raise money for the opening of the cafe. A launch party for the campaign is set for 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, at the Maine Holistic Center on Main Street in downtown Bangor. It will feature music from When Particles Collide, Tom Luther, Dave Johnson and Rossi Meachum, and vegan and raw refreshments.