Juice Bar Nourishes Skinny Park Community
Feb 26, 2015 03:34PM
● By Sheila Julson
While growing up in Lancaster, Carol Campbell, the owner of Skinny Park Juice, had always wanted to own and operate her own restaurant or café. She enjoyed helping her mom cook and bake, and she worked in restaurants throughout her teen years. However, her entrepreneurial food business ambition was put on hold.
“When I was in high school and going through career planning, I wanted to study restaurant management, but my father, an English professor, wanted me to have a liberal arts education,” she relates.
Campbell earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Millersville University in 1985. After getting married and while raising her two sons, she went back to school and achieved a Master of Science degree in counseling from Villanova University in 1996. She worked as an elementary school counselor for the School District of Lancaster. While she enjoyed the counseling profession, her desire to open a café, specifically a juice bar, continued to resurface.
She scouted potential restaurant locations in Lancaster’s downtown area, but could never seem to find an ideal space, until she landed in the neighborhood near Northwest Corridor Linear Park, known informally as “the skinny park.” Harvey and Nenita Miller, owners of the Victorian-themed Pemberley Tea Shop, were planning to retire. Impressed that the neighborhood seemed to be an up-and-coming hub of vibrant businesses, Campbell chose the tea shop location and opened Skinny Park Juice in November 2013.
“We moved right in and opened the doors,” Campbell says with a laugh. She found vintage mid-century Formica tables for her café and kept the same eclectic mix of dishes that were used in the tea shop. She also set up a children’s table and small play area to create a family-friendly ambiance. With the wooden floors and wooden plank walls that display local art; the elements come together to create a bohemian-style café with a casual vibe.
Campbell started her menu by experimenting with recipes for juices and smoothies, some of which are named for the health benefits they provide. The Clean Green cleansing juice is concocted from aloe vera, apples, celery, cucumber, kale, lemon, parsley and spinach. The My Beating Heart smoothie consists of banana, blueberry, goji berry, maca and pineapple. Skinny Park Juice also offers Energy Elixirs including the Bee Awake, made with almond milk, bee pollen and raw honey. Immunity Boosters include the Super Grass and the Ginger-Turmeric Tonic, as well as wheat grass, ginger juice and e3live shots.
Campbell collaborated with health professionals and nutritionists for recipe ideas, as well. Dr. Jackson Liu, a pain management specialist, helped create the Tango, which is loaded with tart cherries, pomegranate, flax oil, ginger and turmeric to help fight inflammation. One-, two- and three-day juice cleanse packages can also be ordered.
The tea menu comprises 40 varieties of organic teas from around the world, available by the cup, pot or loose leaf. Foods comprise mostly vegetarian and vegan options, with alternative ingredients such as soy, coconut, almond or cashew milk; Daiya dairy-free cheese and Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread. Gluten-free (GF) options are also available.
Campbell says customer favorites are the toast specials, featuring assorted toppings on a choice of Lancaster Food Company sprouted multigrain or rye bread or a GF alternative. Skinny Park also offers salads, GF baked oatmeal and GF house granola, wraps, a children’s menu and grain bowls, which start with a base of quinoa or brown basmati rice, fresh baby kale and spinach and a choice of a vegan sauce. Customers can choose from six grain-bowl varieties.
According to Campbell, menu ingredients are sourced from local growers and vendors, such as Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative and Oasis, a farmers’ collective, whenever possible. She also buys from individual stands at farmers’ markets and many other local and organic vendors. Campbell believes that the extra cost and effort required to purchase organic ingredients and environmentally safe food containers and supplies are worth her ongoing commitment.
Skinny Park Juice has grown to eight employees, and Campbell continually strives to expand the menu of fresh, healthy offerings, based on customer favorites. She takes pleasure in seeing her business grow and meeting new customers when they discover Skinny Park Juice for the first time. Her favorite menu selections are the green smoothies that contain organic apple, pear, kale and spinach. “They’re delicious,” she comments. “You feel good, you feel full, and it’s good for you.”