Inside House of Juice's New Brooklyn Storefront
Without a doubt, the new juicery and brewery in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, House of Juice, is a "Made in Brooklyn" business.
Equipped with a "Garden to Cup" ethos, House of Juice's organic ingredients come from gardens in Brooklyn (including one in its own backyard!). House of Juice also serves its own freshly-brewed alcohol ciders, making it both a juicery and brewery—evoking the local spirit of Brooklyn in every sense.
House of Juice got its start as one of the inaugural group of small businesses offered affordable rent space at the NYCEDC-managed MGB Pops, a seasonal, outdoor pop-up market in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The market emerged in direct response to conversations with residents of the community, who called for a more diverse selection of food and retail options in the neighborhood. Since then, some of Brownsville's most creative entrepreneurs have found an exciting gathering space in the once-vacant, now vibrant marketplace in the heart of Brownsville.
Danii Oliver, the co-founder of House of Juice, recently expanded the store's selection of healthy, tasty, and locally-conceived natural food and drink to a new permanent location in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
We spoke with Danii about this exciting move.
What is the story behind House of Juice?
House of Juice is on a mission to bring something other than pizza, burgers, and fried chicken to our neighborhood: a healthy option.
We started a juicery because a business of this concept did not exist anywhere and we wanted to showcase to customers the process of seed to spirit in a health-boosting manner. Before food science came up with making chemicals mimic the taste of food there was the real deal. We intend to bring back the real deal, real organic drink and foods to the bar. Communities worldwide are more informed about their food are fed up with the chemicals. They want their food and drink to be real and nutritious.
What was the biggest challenge when starting your business?
The biggest challenge when starting House of Juice was dealing with racism, sexism, classism, and ageism.
These discriminations were neither subtle nor hidden. Men would not shake my hand or speak to me directly. Real estate agents would take our money on bait, switch offers, and not refund our fees.
One landlord even fought us on what we needed to have to run the business. These prejudices were highly unexpected. We live in Brooklyn after all and if a deli and chicken spot could be placed on every block offering the same things, we thought for sure something unique would interest a landlord. We were wrong but we did not give up.
How has MGB Pops helped your business?
MGB Pops helped House of Juice by giving us our first home base.
MGB Pops pushed us to stop daydreaming and searching and actually get started with running the juice bar.
- Danii Oliver, House of Juice Co-Founder
At MGB Pops, we began handling purchases and inventory, projecting sales and managing customer service. MGB Pops put House of Juice on the map and it did so in a community in Brooklyn that needed it most. We were able to expose children and parents alike to the idea of drinking green juice, green smoothies, and thinking about their gut health.
What does being “Made in Brooklyn” mean to you?
Made in Brooklyn means what we serve is made right here in Brooklyn, New York.
We aren’t shopping for Kombucha from Vermont. We make our juices and other beverages on site here in Brooklyn.
We intend to take ‘Made in Brooklyn’ even further by using produce grown right here in the borough. We work with the Green Valley Garden, Isabahlia Garden and Powell Street Garden farm and gardens in Brownsville to source some of our produce like greens, herbs, honey and seasonal fruits. We even grow some of our own produce like wheatgrass here.
With time, we hope to make Brooklyn-grown produce the majority of what we serve. For now, “Made in Brooklyn” means made in Brooklyn, with the eclectic nature and community spirit of Brooklyn locals!
What are you most excited about for the new storefront?
House of Juice’s new home is here in Brooklyn at 642 Rogers Ave. Since graduating from MGB Pops, we're now here in Prospect-Lefferts Garden where people want options and choices, especially for organic food.
House of Juice is unlike other juice bars, which are mainly counters ready to serve you in a to-go cup. We try to make House of Juice your home away from home. It is a bar/lounge setting where you can come in, sit comfortably, sip on a juice mocktail or eat a smoothie bowl, and relax.
Health is not about grab and go. Health is about taking the time out to relax the mind and body, take off your shoulders what has been bothering you through conversation and socializing, and of course savoring every sip or bite of your meal.
We thought we might have to coax the locals into trying our juices but in fact, they are already ready for it and have been hounding us for more! They love the idea that they will soon be able to sip on one of our brewed-in-house beers and wines. We are very excited to get back behind the bar and meet the locals and our new neighbors.