If you’ve ever wished that pizza, fries and chocolate cake were good for you, wish no more. At Jennifer Richmond and Joel Odhner’s new Center City juice and raw foods café, JAR Bar (set to open this month), foods formerly known as junk can brighten your skin, loosen your pants, and do that oft-overlooked thing food is supposed to do: give you energy.
You’ll just have to get past the fact that JAR Bar’s snacks are a little crunchier (they’re made with fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) and a lot cooler because, well, they’re raw. Nothing is heated past 118 degrees, in order to preserve the enzymes in foods that stoke the metabolism and give you better-than-La Colombe get-up-and-go. When Richmond went raw three years ago, she lost 15 pounds. Odhner, a former meat-and-potatoes restaurateur and an ex-Marine, converted a decade ago: He lost 35 pounds, became a raw chef—and ended up consulting for Dr. Mehmet Oz.
In L.A., New York and San Francisco, raw food has been all the rage for quite some time. In Philly, however, a few places have tried, and … eh. But Richmond and Odhner are convinced the time is right. For the past year and a half, they’ve been helping area clients detox through their online juice-cleanse company, Catalyst. In fact, their customers became so juiced that they furnished the start-up funds for the café.
What to expect when you go raw, even just for lunch: pizza with flax-seed crust, sweet-potato spaghetti, and chocolate mousse made with avocado and raw chocolate. “We’re not about converting everyone to some raw-food religion,” says Odhner. “It’s about offering alternatives and showing people that raw food can give you an immense amount of energy.”
Energy the duo has: They plan to open five more JAR Bars by the end of this year. “People are ready for a change,” says Richmond. “The cheesesteak world is old.”
JAR Bar, 107 South 12th Street, 877-566-2988, catalystcleanse.com.
Originally published in the May 2011 issue of Philadelphia magazine