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It’s an old concept, with new momentum, a cold, nutritious drink, made more palatable by cresting wellness trends. And whether your preference lies in a glass of mean and green juice from NU Kitchen (that’s cucumber, lemon, ginger, spinach, kale, lime, and celery, by the way), a bespoke smoothie from Life Alive, or a meal-replacing drink in one of a plethora of memorable flavors from Sblended, this much is clear: There’s more than one way to raise a glass on the North Shore.

NU Kitchen

NU Kitchen, the petite restaurant and juice bar that opened in Newburyport in 2022—owner Josh Van Dyke also owns outposts in Worcester and Somerville—may not be the obvious place for a juice commissary. But what are restaurants if not repositories of the unexpected? “The size was great, and it had a basement,” Van Dyke says of the Pleasant Street space, which now serves as a local all-day dining spot, and, yes, as the center for production of juices and baked goods for all three of his businesses. “We do the cold-pressed juicing down there, and fresh-baked goods, and all that stuff. We have a van that we use to deliver to our other locations.”

The Newburyport location, now celebrating its two-year anniversary, has, Van Dyke says, filled what he perceived as a gap in the community. A New Hampshire native, he moved out to the West Coast after college and discovered a culinary world full of “fresh, bright greens.” “There’s smoothie bars, there’s coffee bars,” he says. “It just kind of opened my eyes.” Back East, he brought with him a dream to introduce bright and fresh flavors into even the dreariest of winter environments. The result has been a series of successful restaurants that rely on fruits and vegetables, and that bring juice and smoothies to the forefront of drinking culture.

About that juice: Van Dyke has moved, he says, from centrifugal juicing to cold-pressed juicing. The former uses a machine that spins fruit and that introduces an element of heat; some argue that this may strip some nutrients from fruit as it does so. NU Kitchen’s cold-pressed juices, made in batches and available to go, are pressed cold, with no element of heat introduced. “It’s this machine that slowly presses it with thousands of pounds of pressure to extract all of the juice out, whether its fruits or vegetables,” he says. “And by doing that, you’re really getting more vitamins and nutrients.”

19-23 Pleasant St, Newburyport, 978-954-3271,

Life Alive

Smoothies, too, have achieved a new level of sparkle in 2024, egged on, perhaps, by big-name (and big dollar) brands, like Erewhon, and by viral TikToks of clickable masterpieces. At Life Alive, in Salem, one of 10 Boston-area branches—the Salem store opened in 2012—head of culinary innovation and product development Dylan Mendelsohn recognizes the role that aesthetics plays in the rising trend of the smoothie. “They’re a statement piece,” he says of the drink. “It’s not just purées in your glass that you can do at home. They’re gorgeous, and people will look at you down the street and say: Where did you get that?”

Of course, Life Alive’s goal is not only to make their smoothies outrageously good-looking, but the branch also wants its drinks to be sustainably sourced, nutritious, and, yes, delicious. An upcoming launch of a strawberry and banana smoothie is not just strawberries and bananas, Mendelsohn concedes. “We’re not satisfied with having this simple combination,” he says. “We want to elevate it with ingredients, with flavors, with sourcing.” The smoothie has strawberry syrup, a garnish of freeze-dried strawberries, probiotic coconut yogurt. The result is a complex smoothie that lives up to its Instagram-worthy expectations.  

281 Essex St., Salem,


Ariana Puopolo signed the lease for her Beverly space, Sblended, in January 2020. Along with the rest of the world, her concept emerged a few months later, in May. Sblended is a mix-and-match smoothie concept with a dedicated following. Customers, Puopolo says, often return again and again, either for their favorite flavors (the store has a long roster of creative flavors made with a combination of plant-based protein powders, frozen fruits, and other add-ins: glazed donut, black raspberry chocolate chip, shamrock shake), or for the rotating flavors of the month.

Sblended’s smoothies are basically meal replacements, she says, each containing 24 grams of protein. “It tastes like a milkshake. It’s plant-based, and it keeps you full and satiated throughout that mealtime.” The staff, Puopolo says, is constantly coming up with new and creative flavors, soliciting opinions from customers. Around the holidays, she says, they asked customers to suggest favorite food memories. “You know, Christmas cookies or cherry pie,” she says. “We kind of tried to create a flavor. Put it in the blender, blend it up, and test it out—and just come up with something new.”

279 Cabot St., Beverly, 978-998-4548,