As the cold-pressed juice trend continues to make inroads against bacon-worship, breezy, produce-centric cafes are proliferating all over town. And the Upper West Side will soon have what owner Kristin Sollenne hopes is the first outlet of an empire: The chef and nutrition expert, who most recently lent her expertise to mini-chain Bocca di Bacco as Executive Chef, is getting ready to launch Organic Press at 274 Columbus Avenue.
Sollenne has long been interested in the nutritional side of cooking, she explains. She grew up in California with a big Italian family that put a lot of emphasis on food-focused gatherings, and she helped her parents refine their family recipes so that they’d be able to cut calories and reach their weight loss goals. That propelled her career moves when she landed in New York City five years ago, where she’s worked in restaurants and been a nutrition and wellness consultant. “On the culinary side, I focus on farm-to-table, organic, and fresh,” she explains. “I want people to live this great lifestyle and eat the food they want to eat.”
And she’ll try to capture that practical approach, too, at Organic Press, helping her customers achieve all sorts of body-related goals beyond weight loss, which she hopes will differentiate her from the rest of the juice-mongers in the city. “There are all these up-and-coming juice bars; I wanted to create something different with Organic Press,” she says. So she created specialized cleanses for problems like bloating, digestion, detoxing, and post-workout repair, and she’ll continue to work one-on-one with clients, putting together juices for exactly what ails them.
In addition to juices, Sollenne will roll out a wellness menu packed with items that are vegan, gluten-free, and/or dairy-free. For breakfast, she cites organic oatmeal and Greek yogurt; for lunch and dinner, she’ll unveil a list of wraps, soups, and salads (including, of course, kale, which she calls the “queen of greens”). The spot will also have a liquor license, so she’s supplementing her fare with a list of organic wines and beers.
She’ll set that program in a space she describes as “fresh and airy,” done in natural tones. And while her first spot is set to open in late September, Sollenne is already hard at work on a second location, too, which she’ll open in Chelsea shortly. From there, she says, “there’s definitely talk of adding more to the list,” though maybe not in the first year.
And with these new juice bars, Sollenne hopes to give New Yorkers more of what they’ve been craving. “There’s definitely been a change in consumers,” she says. “They’re so health-conscious. Restaurants are evolving.”